Family life

This is the best age gap between kids

There are pros and cons to back-to-back pregnancies, or waiting a few more years before diving back into baby land. We weigh all of the options.

This is the best age gap between kids

Photo: @watermeloneggrolls via Instagram

Back-to-back pregnancies mean putting your head down and pushing through another round of diapers and sleep deprivation. Or you could experience life on the other side for a year or two before plunging back into baby land...

Pros of having kids close in age

—You’re done with the baby gear faster and can get rid of it sooner, instead of storing or stumbling over it for years. —Your kids are close enough in age to entertain each other, go to the same movies, read the same books, go to the same summer camps, and so on. —They’ll always be friends and can confide in one another (though this depends) —They can share a room— maybe even a bunk bed. —You get all the early-years chaos and stress over with, in a compressed timeline. It’s intense, but at least it’s done!

Cons of having kids close in age

—Your life is a whole lot of chaos (and poop! So. Much. Poop) for three solid years. —You’ll have to pay for double the daycare fees, if you’re not staying home with the kids (and—looking ahead— possibly two university tuitions at once). —You might feel like your body hasn’t recovered between pregnancies. —You’re nursing or pregnant for three or four years straight. —If you take full year-long mat leaves, lots of time away from your career in a short period of time (as opposed to interruptions a few years apart).

Pros of having kids with a big age gap

—Selective amnesia about childbirth has long since set in, and the horrors of sleep deprivation during the newborn months are a very distant memory. —It may be easier to find special time with the new baby if your kids are more than four years apart and your eldest is already in school, with a routine and friends of her own. —Your kids won’t be intensely competitive or be compared so closely in school. —Your eldest can help potty train your youngest, assist with feedings or yell for you if the baby is getting into something he shouldn’t while you’re in the other room for 60 seconds. —Your baby always has a built- in mentor and role model.

Cons of having kids with a big age gap

—You will be dealing with poop, potty training and diapers for a longer period of time, drawn out over many years. —The sleepless nights seem to last forever instead of being one hellish period of exhaustion. —Doing drop-offs and pickups at different schools or daycares is hard to juggle, especially as your kids grow older. —Activities are also pretty incompatible. Your eight-year-old wants to go to the movies, but your three-year-old can’t make it through a matinee. –All the rules about starting solids and safe sleep have changed since you had your first. —The other moms on mat leave are 10 years younger than you.
This article was originally published on Oct 14, 2020

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Katie is a Toronto-based writer and editor. She is currently the managing director at Chick & Owl Design Company. More of her work can be found in publications like Parents Canada and Financial Post