Age gaps between kids – the pros and cons

Age gap between kids - the pros and the cons

How long you wait between children is a personal choice, and every age gap brings its own challenges and benefits.

Once you add different personalities and dynamics to the mix, family life is like the proverbial roller-coaster. So, what’s a mama to do? Ride with it and get ready for ups, downs and wild hair – whether there’s a 2, 5 or 10 year age gap.

We asked the Mum’s Grapevine community what they thought was the best age gap between kids and you can see what they said.

2 year age gap

2 year age gap between kids

Soooooo cute! Hands up if you love chubby cheeks and tiny toes. Us too! Having kids close together means more cuddles, giggles and raspberries on tummies. It might feel like you’re herding cats, but cats are cute!

Double the nappies. What’s a couple of extra (thousand) nappies between friends? If you’ve got to change nappies, then go all in! Come toilet-training time, you can wash your hands of the whole shebang and curb your baby wipe obsession. Maybe. Those things are genius!

Sleep. “What’s sleep?” you ask. Well, it’s this thing people do at night which involves lying horizontal with eyes shut for eight hours. Ringing any bells? No? Well, hang in there, and think happy thoughts. Like how great it is that both your kids fit in one supermarket trolley…

Common interests. It’s fun when similar-aged siblings are BFFs. “You like The Wiggles?” “I like The Wiggles!” “You like smearing food on furniture?” “Me too!” Of course, your kids may be peas in a pod, or chalk and cheese. Time will tell!

5 year age gap

5 year age gap between kids

The imitation game. A bigger gap between kids means your younger child may learn stuff early, after copying their older sibling. Walking? Talking? Counting? All good. Pester power? Ummm, that too…

Hand-me-downs. Leaving a few years between tots gives the clothes, toys and baby equipment time to recover from being pooed, peed and dribbled on. Even onesies deserve a break, don’t they? Plus, trends will change, so you’ve got a valid excuse to shop

Sleep. After a few good years, returning to sleep deprivation is as fun as being poked in the eye with a rusk. Repeatedly. On the flipside, when your older child is at school, you can have a guilt-free mama nap when the baby goes down.

Friend or foe? Your eldest may be jealous of the newcomer dribbling on their territory, but chances are, they’ll trip over their toys to take care of the little one. The ‘baby love bug’ is very contagious!

10 year age gap

10 year age gap between kids

Did someone say, “free babysitter”? On the whole, older children will look out for their (much) younger siblings throughout their lives. In the short-term, you don’t need references for this babysitter!

Work it! The muscles required to hold five shopping bags in one hand, a baby in the other and a nappy bag on your head might not be as supple as they were 10 years ago, but with a new bub, you’ll be toned up in no time!

Two track mind. The good news is that this time around, you won’t just have ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ stuck in your head. You can alternate with Taylor Swift. Yay.

Sleep. Yep, no matter how long you wait to have another baby, you’ll be tired. Don’t worry though, you will sleep again. Sometime before 2050. And the teenage years are a great time for revenge, so it’s almost ok to wake your eldest up for ‘baby cuddles’ five times a night! Ah, just kidding. That would be funny though…

Have your say

Got an opinion on what’s the perfect age gap, then join the conversation over on our Facebook page.

Read next …

So you’re about to have another baby and little miss or master is about to become a big brother or sister, how exciting! We have more articles to help with that adjustment.

• 10 books to help prepare siblings for a new baby
• Preparing siblings for a new baby: What you need to know
• 9 pregnancy announcements siblings can do