What Is a Good Age Difference Between Sibilings?

Updated on October 01, 2013
V.P. asks from Chicago, IL
27 answers

Hello, moms! I have a 13 months old boy. I think I would be content with just one child, but my husband wants at least two. The way my school and our careers are, we could either have the second one when my son is almost 2 or when he almost 3 y/o. I have heard from many people that it's very hard to have two children under the age of 2. The advantage that I see with the older child being 3 y/o is that he will start going to preschool, so it will be easier to manage two of them. If I want them to be 2 years apart, we need to start trying for another one very soon and I am kind of undecided what age difference would be better and easier to handle. I would love to hear your opinions!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Mine are three years apart and I think that it has worked out well. But my advice is, don't over-think it. There are advantages and disadvantages with any age difference. Not to mention, life happens when you are making other plans. With a handful of miscarriages, i didn't get the age spacing I was going for.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My oldest is 6 years older than his younger brother. I love it! He can help, the oldest isn't in day care so the cost is less, there is less fighting, they are best friends......I could go on and on about the positives.

My girlfriend had each child about 4 years apart to avoid having more than one in day care at a time!

The negative is that it is sometimes difficult to attend "family" events or play "family" games, as the youngest are really young. My 2 year old isn't really into monopoly just yet.....

I really like the age difference - and I don't think there is a "right" answer. If you work, I would consider day care costs - if you don't, then I really don't think you can go wrong! I will say, if I were considering having more after a second, I would start sooner rather than later.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The gap between the first two is 21 months. It was hell, but they play really well together, and are best buddies.

There is then a 3 year gap between the second and the baby. It was a super easy transition.

With that said, I don't think it's the space that matters, I think it's how you parent. I have a friend with a 5 year gap between her kids and it had been hell on her.

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answers from Columbia on

My boys are 18 months apart. My oldest was 9 months old when I got pregnant with his brother.

It was tough in some ways, but it was great in others.

Tough: Carrying a toddler who refuses to walk AND an infant in his carrier.

Awesome: Being done with diapers in short order.

Tough: One barely walking, the other wants to run! RUN NOW! :-)

Awesome: They're best friends and very close.

Tough: One's getting molars, the other is cutting first teeth.

Awesome: Hand-me-down toys and clothes, not having to worry that toys aren't age-appropriate (no choking hazard issues), teaching sharing is EASY (I don't really remember teaching it individually, actually).

I can't think of more tough stuff.

More awesome stuff: You're already really good at parenting an infant and toddler. You know how to do better in many ways. Kiddo won't even remember not having a sibling. They'll keep one another busy and entertained (which means that you won't be the primary entertainer). They'll have one another even after you and your husband are gone.

The reasons go on and on. I recommend trying as soon as you can. :-)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm sure you'll get a variety of answers and opinions.

My daughters are 18 months apart. I think it's great. At one point when they were toddlers, they were wearing the same size clothing. They played with the same toys, no worrying about toys with choking hazards. They have a lot of the same friends, and it's great to watch them together as most of the time they are great friends with each other.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

It really all depends. You can't predict how well your children will get along and if they don't get along, having them closer in age makes it all the harder, b/c they will likely have friends in the same circles.

My 2 kids are almost exactly 3 years apart. And it is wonderful. They are close enough to still enjoy mostly the same kinds of things, and be old enough to DO the same kinds of things (think further than your current child's age, to things like amusement parks and going to the movies, vacation activities, beach/pool time, sleep over activities, etc). Yet they are far enough apart that they are rarely "expected" to do or be at the same things.

They get along well. Pretty good friends, actually. Boy and then a girl.

It just depends on you, their personalities, and your lifestyle. My son was a challenge at age 2, but by 3 it was much more manageable to deal with him AND an infant. I would have been insane if he'd only been 2. He was potty trained before his sister was born. He could follow instructions and walk holding onto the cart or my hand. He could communicate well. These things make a lot of things easier. But, he also was giving up naps and ready for a more active life outside of the home while she was still in a car carrier. So...
Just know that even if you start trying right NOW, there is no guarantee you will get pregnant right away. It took us close to 8 months to get pregnant with our 2nd.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I wanted a big family. When I had my first at 24, I decided to stop having children at 30 (my last one was born when I was 31). I had four kids, that's how it worked out for us. I was open to more, but I will be the first to admit that parenting that many kids that close in age is difficult and exhausting, but I'm glad I didn't space them out more, or have any later than I did. I'm 43 now and enjoying their older years much more than I did their younger, chaotic years :)

All that said, I didn't work more than part time outside the home. Your decision has to take into account childcare costs, my decision did not. My decision was based more on how old I wanted to be when the last one graduated from high school. I'll be 49. I have friends that are starting their families now, they will be in their late 50s-early 60s. Not my cup of tea, I chose to have my career later, not when the kids were young.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I think child spacing definitely deserves some thought. I personally think three years is the most preferrable. They are still close enough in age to play together. Yet you, the mom, have time for your body to recover fully between pregnancies and to allow your body to stock up on nutrients, etc. That is important. Also, it is a lot harder for a two year old to share mom with a new baby than it is for a three year old. That being said, there are also valid reasons for going longer or shorter between kids. Someone I know is having her kids just as quickly as she can because she is getting on in her 30s and wants all her child bearing to happen before the typical time that people start having fertility problems. Obviously it's your decision and no one else's business. But since you ask, I think three years is the best spacing when possible.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Mine are exactly 3 years and a week apart. It worked really well for us. The first was out of diapers and no longer needed to be carried or ride in a stroller by the time the second was born. The first started nursery school a couple of afternoons a week when the second was born, so I had time alone with the baby, and he got to get out and see other kids. At three my first was very independent and able to get out of bed in the morning, get himself a snack and watch tv, so I could take the baby to bed to nurse in the morning, and he was able to help me with the baby a little bit (like getting me a diaper, or entertaining the baby while I make lunch). My boys are very close, despite the three year age difference. I find that second children grow up a bit faster than the first.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My four kids were all a year apart. That's what we wanted. Worked well for us. It is a very individual decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'd start trying now. They'll be far enough apart but close enough they'll have stuff in common.

The closer together they are the better. The thing about having kids further apart is that they can't play with the same toys, they won't be interested in the same things, they won't want to play together, they'll be different groups.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I'd say 3 years. Close but not too close.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

mine are almost 6 years apart...my mom has 6 kids 46,44,40,37,31,30....she said the easiest was the 6 year gap and the 1 year gap....so its different for each person

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My kids are 27 months apart. I would have been fine with up to 36 months. I initially wanted them to be 2 years apart in school, but I ended up needing to let my youngest stay in preschool one more year because of where his birthday fell. It turned out to be a wise decision on my part because he wouldn't have done as well if I hadn't. Also, being 3 years apart in school will help me a lot with college tuition because I will only have to pay double for ONE year with both kids than if they were two years apart. (I have one in college now and my younger one is a senior in high school.)

I don't think that it's possible for you to try to manage the "easier to handle" part. We never know what the dynamics of another child is going to do in the family. And of course, the terrible two's and trying three's hits regardless of whether there's another baby in the house...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

There is just shy of 3 years between my first and second children. When my third child was born my other 2 were 8 & 5.
What age gap you have is a very individual thing! For us, having that space is what worked out fantastically for us. I could not even imagine having my first 2 any closer! It was a challenge enough with 3 years between them because my first was/is a high needs child. But at 3 he was independent enough and "got it" more. I didn't put him (or any) of my kids in daycare/preschool at any time so I had all of them around all the time. Which I didn't mind.
All 3 of mine get along fine. They have their moments of sibling bickering that you get no matter what the age gap is.
I like that I can let them play outside without having to hover over them because the now 12 year old and 9 year old can keep an eye on their now 4 year old sister safely.
They can all play nicely together. My older 2 are helping their sister learn to read!
My brother is 4 years younger than I am and we get along just fine as well. We had our normal sibling bickering but it wasn't because of age, just because we were siblings.
It all boils down to what you want to do. When you want to add another. And of course when you actually get pregnant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had two under two, and then three under three. I just wanted to keep having more children until I felt our family was complete. My children are by close and all three share a room.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

My husband and his brother are 10 years apart. My sister and I are 4 years apart. My son and daughter are 3 years apart. My mom in law, my mother, I all say the way we each did it is the best. hahaha. Im fully convinced that whatever you choose to do you, will feel it was the best move. You'll be so happy with it because your family will fall into whatever routine and new normal you have created. Enjoy these precious years! Whatever you do will be just right for your fam. Blessings!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

I am 4 years older then my brother and 9 years younger then my half-sister. It worked for us. Things were awkward from time to time with my sister and I, she was my idol and sometimes idols fall, but generally we got along. My brother and I are pretty chill now, never really had trouble, but a few fuss-up moments.

My husband is the oldest of 5, 4 years between each of the older four, and..I think 14 years from the second youngest and youngest. All seems well there, things are a little "cool" between my husband and his baby sister only because he's not been able to be in her life like his siblings. Being as when she was born he was out doing the adult thing. She only 2 years older then out first born.

My two are 6 years apart. This has worked really well for us. At 6 she's now mostly independent and able to truly understand how to wait her turn for my attention and know why she has to wait. She'd started school a month before my son was born, this allowed me to focus all day on him and give him the similar one on one baby time that my daughter got. She's also been a wonderful helper keeping an eye on him when I have to leave the room and giving me a hand in entertaining him when I can't.

We're at our limit with 2, if something should happen (knock on wood) then I would prefer a third no sooner then 4 years from now. I think at least 4 years between kids is the best. They are verbal by then and better able to understand and even self entertain when it's needed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My first two are just under 3 years apart (2 yrs 9 mo) and it was really hard at first. But now its all good, they are 3 and 6 and can play pretty well together, seem to genuinely like each other, get along etc. Sometimes the age difference gets in the way and the 6 y/o just can't deal with the immaturity of the 3 y/o.

I'm going for 4 years between on the 2nd and 3rd child, because I think it will make a diffeence to have an older child with her own thing going on (preschool etc) when the baby comes this time. Last time, the oldest really got usurped from her baby position being not yet 3 y/o. Also, me and all my siblings are all 4 or 5 years apart and it hasn't stopped us all from being super close so I would have spread out even more, just didn't get started early enough in my 20's so I want to leave some wiggle room unless I ever convince my husband of #4.

Don't plan too hard, you may not magically get pregnant exactly when you want either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Mine are 2 years 6 months and 6 days apart. They are close. They are best friends.
I have a friend whose kids are less than a year apart. They are close. They are best friends.
Do what is best for you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

My kids are just about 21 months apart in age. We didn't plan it that way but it worked out wonderfully. They are close enough in age to have similar interests but far enough apart to be their own people. Their temperaments help a lot too.

My sister and I are 3 years apart. We never got along as kids; the age gap was too much. I thought she was a pest and she thought it was unfair that I got to do things that she was too young to do.

She and the brother that came after her are only 1 year apart and were inseparable buddies, like twins.


answers from Washington DC on

My kids are 2 years apart each and I have 3. The oldest and the middle are actually 22 months and the middle and the baby are 23 months.

I am almost exactly 24 months younger than my sister (her birthday is 5 days after mine), my next brother is 19 months younger, then our next brother is 26 months after that one, and then the baby is 21 months after him. My parents always did fine with 5 of us.

I didn't "plan" any of my 3 but it worked out perfect. I loved them all being little together and I love them being so close now.



answers from Rockford on

I only have two children and they are almost exactly two years apart. They are two years and three weeks apart to be exact!
So far it has worked out well for me. I waited to potty train my first until after my second was born, so I had two in diapers for a couple of months, but after that it was just the baby. My kids have moments of being really close, and moments of not liking each other so much. It's pretty typical.
Personally I would have struggled if they were closer than two years. I have friends who have kids who are closer than two years apart and they seem to do really well. It just varies by person I suppose.



answers from Chicago on

I see you have a lot of answers but I will add one more. My daughters are 3 years apart, currently 7 and 4, and this worked out perfectly for me. By the time my second was born, my first was potty trained, out of a stroller, in a big bed, sleeping through the night, eating big people food, speaking in complete sentences and on her way to preschool. It made having another baby so much easier to handle, plus she was old enough to help me too. Yet they are still close enough in age to play together. They are best buds and have many friends in common. They enjoy a lot of the same shows, games and toys. It was the right age difference for me, though some like them closer in age. It's up to you and your personal parenting style. Hope this helps!



answers from Washington DC on

My sister and I are 21 months apart, and I felt that was too close growing up. There was too much competition and not enough space for us to be our own persons. My kids are 41 months apart, and that feels better. As others have said, they are close enough to be good friends but far enough apart that I had some room to breathe between babies. I had a lot of friends who had a 2-ish year gap, and the transition from one to two seemed a lot more difficult for them than it was for us.



answers from Chicago on

My kids are 5, 9, and 12. I will not tell you that I had a helper because the older one was so much older than either of the younger. I will tell you to choose based on being ready to have another babu to care for, the financial ability to do so, great friends and family as a support group. Each child is different some have the easy baby first who sleeps through the night easily others wonder why you will have another considering you have yet to sleep 5 hours in a row much less 8. So you can see the development of your current baby predict its needs And decide of you can handle all of the previous stages along with that if you have another. Be prepared for a bit of jealousy.



answers from Topeka on

2 and a half years has worked out well for us. My kids are three grades apart in school from the oldest through the youngest. It also allows for early potty-trainers to get that down before the baby arrives (worked for my daughter but not my son). A 2 and a half year old is close enough to grow up together with the baby but not share in care-taking duties.

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