Spacing Children – How Far Apart is too Far?

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My two boys are 26 months apart. I’ve often felt like it is the perfect spacing. When we got pregnant with Rowan, Chan was 17 months. I envisioned two little boys who played in the mud, wrestled, and slept in bunk beds. They are at those ages now (5 1/2 & 3 1/2) that they play really well together. I love that they each have a playmate, and totally loved the spacing. They are great friends, share a room, bunk bed, toys, etc. As babies, both of my boys were pretty mellow. Once they became toddlers, it was all downhill from there. Busy would probably be the best word to describe both of them. Always into everything, go go go, my way or the highway, very independent. I knew I wanted a bigger gap before we tried for baby #3, but didn’t really think that I wanted more than about 4 years. I needed my sanity for a bit after having two very active little boys. You hear about certain kids growing up, not being able to relate to their siblings because they are so far apart in age. Or how hard it is for the parents to adjust to having a newborn again.

My boys, 3 years ago

However, I knew if the boys were older before we had another one, they would be such a great, great help. Our friends had a baby not too long ago, and when we went to visit them, Chan was so enthralled with this new baby, it was fun to see how interested he was in her.
Last year when I got accepted into ultrasound school, I knew we would have a bigger gap than we originally planned. I went back and forth about going back to school, but finally decided it was the right decision. I want to be able to support my family if anything ever happened to Marshall, and I know I would be able to do it as an ultrasound tech. Plus, we’ve felt the effects of unemployment and it’s not fun. My program is 2 years, and I’m almost halfway done. I don’t want to introduce a new baby while I am in school because I don’t think that would be fair to our family. In the fall I’ll be doing 32 hours of clinical, 8 credits of other classes, working 1 night a week, and trying to keep up on everything else. When we have another baby, I want to be able to be here for him/her 100%. If we planned to get pregnant when I graduate, and I did happen to get pregnant right away, there would be about 5 1/2 years between Rowan (our youngest now) and the new baby. I feel torn about this spacing, but know that is what is going happen with our family at this point. I’m totally loving school right now, enjoying the boys at their ages and trying to live day by day, but I have to admit that I’m a teensy bit baby hungry. I think if I weren’t in school right now, hubby and I would consider getting pregnant.
What type of spacing do you have with your kids, or are you planning on? Do you like it and why or why not?

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  1. 27

    My kids are 6 1/2 years apart and my brother and I were 9 years apart. I felt like an only child pretty much.

    6 1/2 years apart isn’t too bad…the older one can help out a bit 🙂

  2. 28

    We’re expecting our second little one (a boy) in October. Our daughter will turn 5 in November, just after her little brother is born. Like you, I felt torn about the spacing -anxious, worried, fretting. My husband and I were working hard to get through school and get our BAs, so we put off baby #2 for quite a while. Now that we’re half way through this pregnancy, I really see the benefits! Our daughter is so independent. She knows how to play by herself, she’s potty trained and has been for years now, she sleeps in her own room and will be attending preschool in the fall. It couldn’t be more perfect! I won’t have to feel like I’m neglecting one of them. If I’m tired, it’s OK for our daughter to play by herself for a while. When she’s at preschool, I get to have some awesome one-on-one time with the baby without guilt.

    Try not to worry about this age gap. I think it will work out a lot better than you think! 🙂

    Oh, another benefit – we’ll only have to pay for one college tuition at a time. 😉
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  3. 29
    Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy says:

    My oldest are 13 months apart and the next gap is 4 years and 3 years later the midle one still struggles. I didn”t plan them close together but it wax worlds easi for me
    Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday: Baseball Coming Out of My Ears

  4. 30
    Wendy T says:

    My children were four years apart.

    They could not wait till they became “7-11” in ages. They had this figured out for a while and were excited. My daughter turned 11 first. Two months later, my son turned 7.

    On the VERY day my son turned 7 – things went south. There was something not good that happened with my daughter that day, and (not as a result of that day), she passed away 9 months later.

    *I’m sorry if my taking a left turn on your question is upsetting. I didn’t intend it to…it just came out.

  5. 31

    I completely understand this blog. My boys are 4 years, 4 days apart. Some days it is good but others not so much. My oldest is 5 and while he is a big help he gets bored by my 15 month old. Sometimes he isn’t so nice to the baby and that causes a problem. I don’t know about you but having two boys gets a little crazy sometimes. Especially since I own my own business and work from home they get to screaming and stuff and it can be a little much. I have always wanted a little girl but with my luck I would end up with another boy. I love them but I do think that the spacing is a little off. They either need to be farther apart in age so the older one is more grown up or closer in age so they play good together.

  6. 32

    Obviously this is different for everyone. My brother and I are 6 years apart but my children are only about 2 years apart.
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  7. 33
    Janice Cooper says:

    My sister and I are 6 yrs apart and we are “total” opposite of each other. I’m the oldest and its like we are from 2 totally different generations. We aren’t super close. We agree to disagree on a lot of issues. She’s more fiery and I’m not. I wish we were closer in age. I think we would’ve gotten along better.

  8. 34

    I had planned on having our second exactly 2.5 years from our first. Then, I miscarried and it’s taken longer than anticipated to get pregnant again. Now our kids will be at least three years apart and the longer it takes to get pregnant and the larger the gap between the kids gets, the more it makes me unsure if we should have another one. Growing up as an only child I always wanted a sibling but a big age gap makes me nervous.
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  9. 35

    I think spacing is less important than personality. My sister and I are 7 years apart but we are as different as night and day so we don’t get along too well. Most people I know that are this far apart in age get along great though because there is too big of a gap for there to be competition.
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    • 36

      I think that’s so true. Personalities play a big role. Thanks for the insight!

  10. 37
    Jeralee says:

    I know of someone that has 4 girls. The first two are only 18 months apart, then there is a 5 year gap. Then she had two more, just 16 months apart and they are good friends. I wouldn’t worry too much about the spacing, life has a way of going by very quickly. I would focus more on when and if you would have the time to focus on the demands of a newborn.

    You are young and still have lots of time. 🙂 And think, Grandma’s living children are 7 years apart and 9 years apart… maybe ask dad what it was like growing up with siblings far apart in age.

    Oh and to humor you, since you asked , the girls are 20 months apart. 😉 And two was the perfect number for me… they grow up way too fast… Listen to your instincts, you will know what to do. Love ya sis. And FINALLY – remember that there is a 10 year difference between you and I. Were we best buddies growing up? Nah, I helped watch you and take care of you. 😉 But, I think we are pretty good friends as sisters now that we are grown up. It all works out ( or so I’ve been told lately 😉 )

    • 38

      I didn’t even think of asking dad. And you are right – you are one of my bestest friends and we are 10 years apart. Granted, I couldn’t relate too much until we were adults, but I always look forward to our conversations and know that I can confide and depend on you. LOVE you. Very much.

  11. 39

    Well we only have one 😉 So I’m not much help there! But I have both far apart and close in my family – My oldest brother is 8 years older than me, and then my sister, other brother and myself are all 3 1/2 years apart! As kids I didn’t spend much time with my oldest brother, but now that we’re all adults I’m very close to him. So I don’t think age is a huge factor – it’s more the bond that the family has to begin with 🙂
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  12. 40
    courtney says:

    i think two years is perfect spacing. I’m pregnant now but I dont plan on getting pregnant again for 2 more years.. at least!

  13. 41

    I am the last and third child of my family. My oldest brother is 6 years older than me, my middle brother is 4 years older than me. I barely talk to my oldest brother, and my middle brother I sometimes talk to. I pretty much did not want that age difference in my kids. My brothers beat me up a lot when I was growing up, they’re boys, and I’m a girl. That made a big difference too. Even now, they still have a hard time letting me have my own opinion (or facts), because I’m younger, and I don’t know any better.
    So, now, I have two boys, they are 18 months apart. We’re exhausted! We do want #3. From my own experience, I do not want #1 and # 3 to be more than 4 years apart. AND if #3 is a girl, we’re going to have #4. I just don’t like odd numbers.
    My husband always says that just because I had a bad experience does not mean that our kids would. Well, I guess I just don’t want it to happen. But … who knows!

  14. 42

    Your boys are so darn adorable! My kids are 25 months apart. We thought 2 years would be right for us. I quickly learned it is A LOT harder than people make it out to be. Having a baby that wanted to nurse 24/7 for the first 3 months made it hard to give my toddler the attention he needed. I want one more, but I think we are going to wait 3 to 4 years this time around.
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  15. 43

    My daughters are 7 years apart and I LOVE it! I feel I got to spend quality time alone with them both as babies, and I am so enjoying having the space and being able to enjoy different things with each of them at each stage – both together and separate. I get to take my Toddler to Disney movies and my Tween to get manicures together. I get to chaperone the middle school dances and be the “cool mom” with the Tween, and still volunteer at the Toddler’s PreK all the time. I absolutely love it. I could not imagine having them any closer together.

  16. 44

    Mine are 4 years and 1 week apart. I worked full time up until I had my second child. Honestly, there were a few deciding factors in the spacing of our children. The first being that I have major post-partum depression and it took me awhile to gear myself up to go through it again. Another being the whole financial aspect that comes with having and raising children. That being said, I love the spacing between my boys. My oldest was a huge help (and still is!!) with the new baby. They are best friends and share everything. They fight, but where there is such a gap, the oldest understands much better how to handle it. They are getting to a point where they are each finding out what they enjoy and who they are (if that makes sense), and they are two very different personalities. It makes outings a little frustrating to plan (one really wants to do something and the other really doesn’t), but I think that would have happened regardless. Anyway. You just make it work for you and your family. Sorry this is a novel.

  17. 45

    My boys are about 22 months apart. They are best friends which is perfect. I’m thinking to wait until the baby is at least 2 before getting pregnant again. I need a little break and that way the oldest will be starting school so it will still just be 2 home during the day. We’ll see what happens though. It’s not up to me 🙂
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  18. 46

    My first two girls are 2 1/2 years apart. (don’t you love me talking like you don’t know me!) They play really well right now which is fun. My 3rd girl is a little over 3 years younger but for the moment it is alright. I think a lot of the time the choices we make about having our kids don’t always make sense but they feel right. There are 20 years between my oldest sister and I. No, we didn’t grow up together so we aren’t buddies, but we do have a different kind of relationship that still means a lot to me. I hope this doesn’t sound like a lot of rambling, but I think that as you talk to your husband whatever you decide will be best for your family will be great! You know you could announce your pregnancy as a graduation present to yourself… just sayin…

    • 47

      I completely agree with you on things not always making sense, but having them feel right. I think I’m just over analyzing the whole situation and just need to be patient. lol on the graduation present – that would definitely be a good one.

  19. 48

    For me my kids’ spacing began mathematically and has adjusted to a “mom’s senility” math where I waited a little longer with this next pregnancy because my youngest was a wild-child!

  20. 49
    Mami2jcn says:

    I’m not thrilled with my sons’ spacing. They are 20 months apart. It was hard when they were very little, and then things seemed to be okay for a while. Now that they’re 6 1/2 and 8 they fight constantly. I don’t know if it’s a phase or not (Gosh, I hope it is!) but it’s driving me batty. My husband is 7 years older than his brother and I’m 10 years younger than mine, so we don’t know what it’s like to have a sibling close in age. Is it normal for there to be this much fighting? I don’t know.

    Baby #3 (our princess!) is about to turn 2. She’s 4 1/2 years younger than her nearest sibling. I much prefer this spacing, because the relationship is much more harmonious. But maybe that will change with time.

    • 50

      I think it probably has to do with personalities too. Hoping it’s a phase too, that’s tough when it feels like you are a referee half of the time. (I can relate there.) Glad to hear you like your spacing with your daughter a bit further from your two sons.

    • 51

      My brother is 22 and I’m 24 we had some moments of getting along, but for most part we fought alot and have two opposite personalities. My son is 5 and middle daughter is 10 they fight more than my oldest daughter and son do so it could be all embedded in the personality too

  21. 52

    My two oldest are about 27 months apart. I concieved my second child when my oldest (she’ll be 6 in Nov) was about 18 months old. I think this was a good spacing; however I did have two in diapers for 14 months.. which was difficult; had we potty trained my oldest at the age my middle child was trained, we would have only had two in diaper for about a month or two at the most. I used disposables and they never ran out of diapers at the same time, so we were always having to buy diapers. There’s a 38 month gap between my middle child and my baby who is currently 2 months old. Having one in diapers this time around is much easier to handle and it’s even easier that I’m cloth diapering. The 38 month gap between kids is actually nice; since my 3 year old isn’t as needy as my oldest was when she was first born; I can take care of the baby when I need to. I don’t completely ignore my older kids; but it’s easier on me that they can do independent play and problem solving with and for each other!

    It’s going to be quite different and interesting when my oldest starts kindergarten; I think my middle child is going to be lonely not having her sister with her at home all the time.
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  22. 53
    Jessica says:

    I come from a family of four. I am 33, my sister is 29, next, brother is 23, and baby sister is 21. Lots of years between, and I loved it growing up. So when we had our first, and the second came a month before my firsts fifth birthday, I was excited. Excited to have a helper, and a helper she is. We did try for two years unaucessfully. For me I knew I didn’t really want two in diapers. I would see the moms at the stores with two or three under the age of five and think it looked miserable. Things for me are much less stressful having my five year to give the baby her binki, get a diaper, close or open the car door for me. Just the little things, but yet so help ease the stress. To each their own. But I do know, if we are going to have a third, we will try soon.

    • 54

      That actually makes me feel really good to hear your experience of what a good helper your daughter is. Having two in diapers IS hard, we did it for 16 months and I thought I would never see the end of diapers, so that’s a really good point. Good luck with your journey of trying to conceive if you do it soon, and thanks so so much for your feedback.

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