Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What’s the right age gap between children? - A guest post by Joanne Mallon

Joanne Mallon is a freelance journalist, a life coach and the author of Toddlers: an instruction manual: A guide to surviving the years one to four (written by parents, for parents). This book brings together tried and tested practical, down-to-earth tips from parents who've survived the toddler years and want to help you do the same. It is available to purchase from amazon in paperback or Kindle version with part of the royalties being donated to Home-Start, one of the UK’s leading family support charities.

Today Joanne shares her thoughts on whether there really is a 'right' age gap between children, a subject often wondered by parents.

What’s the right age gap between children? 

Two point seven six years. Anything else and your child will turn out dreadfully warped and mangled.

OK, only joking.

There’s a straightforward answer to this one, because the truth is that there’s no such thing as the best age gap, just as there’s no such thing as the ‘right’ age to have a baby. It’s a question of what works best for your family, plus how much your body is willing to get with the programme.

My daughter was three and a half when I had my son, and that felt like the right age gap for us. I didn’t have to deal with two children in nappies at the same time, and my daughter had her own established life and friends which continued, so it’s not like everything had to change for her when the baby came along.

Some parents I know who’ve had a very close age gap have complained that they didn’t have enough time alone with their eldest before the next one was on the way. Others say that a close age gap has worked just fine for them, as it means that their children are going through the same stages in fairly close succession and can become good friends in the process.

And of course, for many of us the age gap between siblings is determined by fertility, and how long it takes you to get pregnant – something over which we have little control. So as much as we may agonise as to when to add to our families, the truth is that you might as well not bother.

If you are considering having another child, trust your instinct and don’t over-think it too much. There are always “What ifs?” when it comes to major life decisions, and you could drive yourself mad trying to consider them all. Just accept that whatever age gap you end up with will turn out to be the right one for your family.


Elaine Livingstone said...

well said. I always wanted 4 at 18 months apart, well 1 and 2 complied, but theres 4 yrs and 9 months between 2nd and 3rd....thats what nature gave me so its what I have got

Mummy's Space said...

I totally agree. I think a lot of the time it's up to nature to dictate and as nice as it would be to plan it's just not always possible.

Adele Jarrett-Kerr said...

I am definitely an overthinker. It's ridiculous too because my fertility has not returned so why I keep wondering about age gaps, I don't know. My body is clearly deciding for me.

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