When do you think it's ideal to have your second child, or if you've already had your second (and subsequent) child, how far apart are they in age and what are the pros/cons of that age gap?

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asked 23 Dec '09, 00:09

Fun2Dream's gravatar image

Fun2Dream
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Great question! A lot of us with one child will be interested in these responses!

(23 Dec '09, 14:07) DazedandConfused

With an age difference of 8 minutes:

Cons:

  • Exhausting

Pros:

  • You get some great pictures

Tinus and Adrian

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answered 23 Dec '09, 00:57

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runaros
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Only got ten weeks of experience yet though. Will update answer in a few years ;)

(23 Dec '09, 00:59) runaros

Great Picture!!!

(23 Dec '09, 01:22) Mary

That is ridiculously adorable!

(23 Dec '09, 01:41) Artemis

I love it :) Thanks for the answer!

(23 Dec '09, 01:45) Fun2Dream

Oh my, that is just simply adorable. Amazing. Beautiful :-)

(24 Dec '09, 21:59) Emi

Too cute are they both boys?

(05 Jan '10, 09:10) Phil Seller

Identical twin boys. One days old at this picture.

(05 Jan '10, 13:41) runaros
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

My kids are 21 months apart.

Pros:

  • our oldest wasn't really old enough to remember a time when it was just her and we didn't ever really experience jealously or acting out due to lack of attention
  • at 21 months, she loved to copy whatever I was doing and could help with simple tasks like getting a new diaper for diaper changes.

Cons:

  • the "testing" 2 years olds like to do while you have your hands full with the baby (e.g. nursing)
  • at 2 years old, they don't know their own strength so "gentle, gentle" became a mantra around here.

I think you'll get a lot of different answers to this question because I think it depends so much on the personality of the first kid & the personality of the parents - it will be interesting to read, so a fantastic question.

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answered 23 Dec '09, 00:47

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Kate
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I agree about the number of different answers - that's why I made it a community wiki :) Thanks for your response!

(23 Dec '09, 02:03) Fun2Dream

MY Children are 4 years apart from each other and I love it. I was able to have lots of one on one time with my first and she was old enough to be taught what to do and not to do with the baby. Also Big plus for me was my daughter was potty trained for 2 years when I had my youngest so there was no reverting to wetting her pants when the Baby came. I would have another one that far apart again.

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answered 23 Dec '09, 01:25

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Mary
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Glad to hear your experience! I am planning on having my 2 about 4 years apart, but have gotten a lot of negative responses to that decision- but luckily, it's mine to make!! :)

(23 Dec '09, 14:05) DazedandConfused

My sister and I are 27 months apart. We fought a bit when we were younger, but I was pretty happy with the situation. I think she felt like people compared her to me a lot (since I'm older), and that made her bitter at times. But, we get along very well now.

So for us...

Pros:

  • Built in playmate!
  • Good transition time for older child (I was just as excited as Mom and Dad were about the baby.)
  • Shared interests and activities (We took piano lessons together.)

Cons:

  • Perhaps a little too close... there will be fighting.
  • Younger child feels overshadowed by the older.

Now, our situation was colored by the fact that we're both girls. I think the situation is a little different between a brother and a sister. (They get compared less often.) We were also the two oldest of 12 children, so we had plenty of chores and responsibilities ready to spawn arguments. However, that also bonded us more closely together.

I would like my daughter to be between 18 and 30 months when we have our second child, but I'm not in any rush to make a decision on that. We need her to arrive first!

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answered 23 Dec '09, 01:58

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Artemis
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If only we could choose the gender of the second child! ;) And, WOW - 12 kids?! Were any 20 months apart or less? How did that work out?

(23 Dec '09, 02:02) Fun2Dream

With my brother Timothy, Mom's water broke five weeks early making him 11 months younger than our brother Eric. There are 8 boys altogether, so it's hard sometimes to examine specific relationships. Usually, if they aren't getting along with one, they spend time with another. :) Overall, I was very happy being in a large family. We got by with fewer material goods and learned to share both belongings and responsibilities. And, to be fair, the two most recent children were born after I'd moved out for college. There have really only been a max of 10 of us living there at any given time.

(23 Dec '09, 03:21) Artemis

I have only one child (and won't have more), so I don't have any parental experience to share.

However, I can answer from the perspective of a sibling. Our three years apart was too big an age difference for us to have many shared interests/abilities, and yet not far enough for us to clearly be out of each other's competitive spheres. We fought a lot and never had a particularly close relationship. I remember as a teenager looking back and thinking to myself that I would want to space my own children farther apart.

As a parent, even though as I said I'm not aiming to have more than one, I sure can see why you'd want them spaced 2-3 years apart. Closer, and it's just too much work simultaneously. Farther apart, and once you've finally finished with the whole diapers, lack of sleep, needing CONSTANT watching, then you have to do it all over again. Maybe better to do it in one batch.

For what it's worth, most of our friends who had a second tended to do it around the 2nd birthday of the first child.

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answered 23 Dec '09, 00:38

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lgritz
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Our older two are just under two years apart (there are 11 days between their birthdays), they are both girls and are both best friends and worst enemies (they are nearly eight and nearly six). Our third is 3 1/2 years younger than our second, and is also a boy. He's only two and a half, but he is doted on by both sisters and adores them both.

If I were starting again I think I'd aim for at least four years between children. It makes for less competitiveness and although they may not be such friends, they can always have friends who aren't siblings, and then they don't have to live together.

In the few remaining hunter-gatherer cultures left, it is apparently normal for mothers to have at least four years between children. This is due to breastfeeding reducing the mother's fertility - see Gabrielle Palmer's excellent book The Politics of Breastfeeding for more detail.

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answered 23 Dec '09, 20:21

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Meg Stephenson
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Our boys are 14 months apart. They are best buds and share everything. For a while people were certain they were twins and we began getting 2 of everything!

  • Pros:

They share well with each other and with other kids, Potty training was easy for the second one (older boy was 3 when we were totally potty trained and younger son followed 3 months later), They have learned to work things out and fight less than often than others, our younger boy is way ahead for his age...he wants to do the stuff his big brother does (at 2:potty trained, at 4 ties his shoes)

  • Cons:

It is a LOT of work! 2x the diapers, we have to remind ourselves that the younger one is NOT the same age as the older one! (we find ourselves pushing our younger one to do the same things as our older boy)

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answered 02 Jan '10, 05:28

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Missy 1
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Asked: 23 Dec '09, 00:09

Seen: 8,551 times

Last updated: 02 Jan '10, 05:28