The Ideal Age Gap Between Siblings?

My sister and I are almost six years apart in age.  When I was starting kindergarten, she was beginning middle school.  She left for college when I was entering high school and for most of my teen years I felt like an only child.  We rarely had similar interests, and I always thought the age gap between us was to blame.  I was busy with sports and having a social life, and she preferred theater and staying home with a good book.  Growing up, I swore that I would never have my kids so far apart in age.

Guess how many years apart my girls are?  Almost six years.  Funny how things work out.

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Everyone seems to have their own opinion on what the “perfect” age distance is between siblings.  Some swear by three years, some say back to back is best.  Have them too far apart they may have nothing in common, have them too close together they may have jealousy issues.  I’ve come to realize there is no perfect age gap, and it really doesn’t matter the years.  I have friends that have siblings ten years younger, and they are best friends.  It really depends on the individual relationships.  I watch my girls play together and it makes my heart feel so full.  My six-year-old is careful to include her younger sister, and it amazes me how quickly she accepted her as her best friend.  Their age gap has shown me how caring and sensitive my oldest is.  I hope to nurture these qualities, and help them be close – despite not being close in age.

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We still have our share of sibling challenges, as there would be no matter how many years apart they were.  There are times I have to explain that the baby is “too little” for an activity (i.e. reiterate why she cannot play with Barbie shoes) and some days I feel like I have to tell my oldest to get out of her sister’s face a million times (what is that about?).  Not to mention, do you know how hard it is to find them matching outfits!?

 

What are your thoughts on the ideal age gap for siblings?  Did you try to plan your kids a certain number of years apart?

4 COMMENTS

  1. My brother and I are 14 years apart, so I am having to adjust to the surprise and delight of having two little girls within 17 months! There definitely seem to be advantages to having them this close in age, but I can see several benefits to waiting, too. Not having double diapers would be a big one!

  2. Our son is around 21 months older than our daughter. I definitely think any/all age differences have their own set of advantages and challenges, but for us it has been good. Now at 3 1/2 and 20 months they play fairly well together. We never had any trouble with sibling resentment from Wyatt as he was too young to really understand what was going on. I love that they will never remember a world without each other.

    My sister and I are 3 1/2 by age (4 years by grade so we never went to the same school) and that was okay too though, because she was an awesome attentive sister, but I am excited to have my two in school together.

  3. I learned in midwifery school, and believe, that women are made to nurse their babies exclusively. When that happens, for the most part, babies will be spaced approximately 2 years apart. For the first 6 months of a baby’s life, when she is exclusively nursed, she will also be providing excellent family planning. Like with any family planning, there is variation, but on the whole our bodies work pretty well to create healthy families.

    Of course, we also have lives. We have jobs, school, family, so biology aside, our child spacing is often up to us. Getting babies further apart sometimes gives us time to breathe in between and enjoy our little ones.

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