What is the perfect age gap between children?

I have a book called ‘The Well-Informed Parent’, and it is one of the few parenting books I have kept. It is a brilliant book (one I would highly recommend), all about what’s best for your baby based on the latest scientific research. It is so interesting, and I do love a bit of science.

Of course, science isn’t always the best for a certain child or scenario, but nevertheless, it is a very thoughtful read. It has chapter headings including: supplements, alcohol, stress, breastfeeding, circumcision, baby-led routines, parent-led routines, dummies, nappies, vaccines, car seats, co sleeping, organic food, screen time, and the one I am going to discuss in this post – spacing children.

Jared and I were laughing uncontrollably when we read through this section, as according to scientific research; with age gaps of 22 months and 26 months – the odds aren’t in our favour. According to research the best age gap is four years – parents are less tired, they have more time for each other, a woman’s body has sufficient time to recover, and as they are not similar in age they are likely to get along much better – simply because they are not interested in the same things. A gap of four years shows that vocabulary and reading ability are better too.

Research suggests that a gap of under 18 months, or a gap of four years is easier for parents – a gap of less than 18 months means the needs of the children are more closely aligned, and a gap of four years means the parents are able to give more time to each child. A gap between 18 months and 4 years means that sibling competition is increased, parents are more tired, jealously between the siblings is increased, toilet regression is likely to occur in the older sibling, and it hits a stage when separation anxiety is more likely to occur too. On the flip side – research suggests that children with a closer gap will bicker a lot, yet (predictably) they are more likely to have a closer relationship as adults.

Lots of factors influence when parents start trying for another child, including finances, age, contraception, fertility, work, emotional needs and health. Jared and I plan things years in advance around the things we want to do. A little selfishly I hasten to add. “If we want to do this, we need our kids to be at least…” and “If we want to do…the youngest has to be walking”. We must sound awful. There are so many things we want to experience with them, yet we’re not wishing our present to be any different, and I feel thankful every day that I am fortunate to have the choice to work – or not.

I know we will have at least four children, and the thought of planning to space them every four years does not sit well. I definitely favour a shorter, intense, busier time of our lives. I thrive off feeling a little all over the place, and emotionally I think I would struggle having a few years between pregnancies. We want our house to be busy and full of chatter. Although bickering can be very tiring – (I feel) it is such a good thing. It helps shape their personalities, and teaches them to always consider another person. Another plus point for a smaller gap is that days out will be a little easier in the future, as they will be interested in similar things.

Science is fascinating and I loved reading this little chapter in my book. Writing this has reminded me that families are so incredibly personal, and so unique. Each couple is made of two very different personalities, and for every single point mentioned in this chapter of the book I can think of dozens of anomalies using people I know. Ones that go against science, and it is perfectly perfect for them.

I myself am one of eleven siblings. Our age gaps range between 17 – 32 months, and I don’t think we have turned out too badly…but it’s certainly not for everyone!

What were your primary consideration when deciding to add to your family? I would love to know.


E xx



  1. 19th October 2016 / 9:50 am

    Loved reading this and have drafted something similar about the gaps we have (kind of a pros and cons) it’s always made me wonder now that we have four close in age, I’m one of three (my brother is 2yr 9 months older and my sister is almost ten years younger!) so it’s a bit different for me raising four so close. We always said we wanted six close together but we’re at four now and I can agree that my body hasn’t healed well so far (after 3&4) it’s made the almost definite decision we can’t have a 5&6 even though I find it hard saying it still) but we feel blessed with what we have and I agree that the bickering is intense sometimes but they make up for it in love and friendship and I hope they’re close as adults too. So two years until baby number four for you guys then? 🙂

    • Esther
      30th October 2016 / 11:10 pm

      Yes! That is very different having four so close, and I agree that there are pros and cons to both. It is so interesting though, and the great thing is that we’ll never know anyway! I loved what you said about making up for it with friendship and love. I really, really hope so! xx

  2. 19th October 2016 / 10:14 am

    Oh my I wonder how I would feel if we had spaced them further apart haha honestly I love that they are interested in similar things, it makes days out easier and they play well together. Plus I like the idea of having my kids by mid 30s and having time to focus on me when they are less dependant.

    • Esther
      30th October 2016 / 11:11 pm

      I agree! We’ll still be young when they are less dependent! 🙂

  3. 19th October 2016 / 12:33 pm

    Oh wow, I agree with you it’s whatever suits that family. There’s 23 months between my two and for us, that’s perfect. I wanted them close together so we could get on with their lives. The older they get the more we’ll all be able to do together as a family and I can’t wait.

    • Esther
      30th October 2016 / 11:12 pm

      We sound similar Nat with regards to this. Makes me feel so fortunate that I get pregnant very easily. Something I never take for granted x

  4. 19th October 2016 / 4:59 pm

    Ahh reading all the “research” stresses me out! haha! My brother and I are 4 years apart, and we’re still very close. I’m not sure what we want to do yet (ours is 9 months now), but every family is different!

    • Esther
      30th October 2016 / 11:13 pm

      Absolutely! I think you will know when the time comes x

  5. Hannah Flinn
    19th October 2016 / 8:43 pm

    It sounds like an interesting book Est. I’ve really enjoyed having a gap of 27 months between my eldest and the twins (although it was meant to be a 30 month gap with them arriving very prem), but if I do have another pregnancy, I want my twins at school purely for the reason of my sanity! I haven’t found it easy. And even with a ‘gap plan’, it doesn’t necessarily work out that way for everyone!

    • Esther
      30th October 2016 / 11:15 pm

      It is a really good book Han. One to have on the shelf and dip in and out of. Yes definitely, and not getting pregnant straight away, or after many years. I think having one when the twins start school would be so lovely. Like a dream! x

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