Some friends are about to have their second child and we were talking and reminiscing about our babies development stages recently, recalling how the stages could vary, when they first started crawling, walking and talking. Our daughters are the same age, and their daughter learnt to crawl earlier than ours but walked later.

Now they wonder whether their second will develop quicker than their first. As a mother of one I don't think I am qualified to give an opinion, but I know I have heard that second children can develop skills quicker.

Is it the case that second children can do some things quicker? Is it an ongoing thing? Does the first child gain or benefit from this too?

asked 25 Oct '09, 09:49

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%


Not sure about walking and talking, but ideas of naughty things to do come thick and fast with #2!

(11 Jan '10, 14:32) Benjol

@Benjol LOL brilliant... next time around I want to be a second child too.

(11 Jan '10, 14:39) Emi

My children are very different - my oldest is a fine motor kid (talked very early, walked very late) and my youngest is a gross motor kid. She was climbing ladders at 16 months - my oldest didn't start walking until 18. In my experience, it's been the type of learner they are that has dictated their development process much more than which one of them is older.

That being said, I definitely notice that my youngest is picking up specific language from my oldest. It's pretty hilarious to hear her say Olivia's catch phrases. I get a lot of "I know! I know!" and "let go, mommy!"


answered 25 Oct '09, 13:32

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Not in my experience. My eldest walked and talked at a younger age than my second, and my third was later still than the second.

However, my second is more socially able at five than her sister was. And she showed an interest in reading and writing sooner, probably because she wanted to do what her sister was doing. Yet to see what the third is like at that stage.

The only developmental benefit for the eldest of having younger siblings is social, as far as I can see.


answered 25 Oct '09, 10:32

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

I have three kids, and so far I'm pretty convinced that their basic learning curve is innate. My oldest spoke in sentences when he was 15 months old. My second spoke so late it was classified as a speech disorder and he's been working with an in-home speech therapist. My third seems to be on track for normal to slightly late in terms of speech development.

As for walking, all three have walked between 11 and 15 months (pretty standard).

I do think that the younger children learn things from their older siblings, of course (my second has started saying "oh, cool!" which isn't exactly standard two-year-old speech!) but how quickly they learn the basics does seem to just be part of the individual.


answered 26 Oct '09, 02:19

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I think it does depend on the kids. My daughter sat and crawled earlier than her big brother but she was later by quite a few months walking and while she is a good communicator she is not as good talker as my son was at her age. I think she crawl earlier because she wanted to get into her brother's toys.

My friend's daughter was the youngest of three and she was late walking as her big sisters carried every where. My sisters three kids all walked at about the same time.

My daughter has been exposed to some activities/toys earlier than her brother simply because he was doing them but in contrast I probably haven't done things with her because it doesn't work with two kids.

Your second question was does the first child benefit or loss? I don't think you can say they win or loss but life with two kids is different. I try to make sure that I get some time with my son on his own when my daughter is in bed for her rest.


answered 17 Apr '10, 02:40

K%20D's gravatar image

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edited 17 Apr '10, 02:47

I also only have one but I've seen both sides in my friends children. In one case the second child did everything quicker and was continually trying to keep up with her older brother who was just over 1 year older. In another case (although the age difference was greater) the second child took a lot longer to speak because he didn't need to. The older child spoke for him when he gestured.


answered 25 Oct '09, 12:28

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

I've definitely heard people say that younger siblings start lots of stuff earlier but I've never experienced it. Also, currently one of my best friends has 3 kids, the youngest of which is way old enough to talk but for some reason almost never will. So I don't know if I buy into it or not.


answered 25 Oct '09, 16:03

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accept rate: 15%

Our four year old daughter definitely picked up talking more quickly than our seven year old daughter. Partly this was because the younger one had the older one as a model (and competitor), partly it's just that they are different kids.


answered 16 Apr '10, 02:28

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Peter K.
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Our oldest is two years old and the youngest is six and a half months old. The six month old is rolling all over the floor, can pick her whole chest up and is pulling her legs up underneath her while on the floor. She can pivit 360 on her belly and can turn her body in the direction she would like to roll. Our two year old didn't do any of this until she was about eight months old. So, I can definatly see where the youngest is doing more then our oldest. But, that just might be her personality and she might be a quicker learner then her big sister was.


answered 25 Sep '10, 12:17

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Jennifer 2
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Asked: 25 Oct '09, 09:49

Seen: 13,828 times

Last updated: 25 Sep '10, 12:17