8 Years Difference? Why I’m Looking Forward to My Kids’ Age Gap

Image: Author/©DevanMcGuinness
Image via Devan McGuinness

When my husband and I were writing our “pro/con” list, debating whether or not to add another child to our family, the age gap of our kids was a point of consideration. Before we had children, we planned on having two and, discussing any further kids as needed, we knew we wanted them close in age. My siblings and I don't have a large age gap between us, and I've always seen that as a contributing factor for why we were best friends as kids and still are as adults. 

My oldest two kids are only 14 months apart, and for us, it was the perfect gap. I was already in newborn mode, our kids were in the same size diapers, and my oldest was too young to feel any angst over a new addition. There was some re-adjusting to lost sleep (our son still wasn't sleeping through the night when our daughter was born), and there was no sibling rivalry to sort through. It was hard work, but so worth it. 

Ideally, I would have loved to welcome this newest addition just two years after my youngest was born, but fate had a different hand in the cards. 

When the debate came for our third child, we waited a little longer since we were moving and settling into a new place. Some miscarriages broadened the age gap wider than we had anticipated, and our third child was born almost exactly two years after our second was born. 

I had three kids under 3-and-a-half years old. For some, that may sound like crazy-town, but for us it was amazing. I didn't have to worry about anyone feeling left out, no planning activities over each other, and my time didn't feel too divided because my kids were all nearly into the same things. Again, they were all in the same diaper size, potty trained around the same time (the older two), and the older kids were in the help-out stage when it came to caring for the youngest. 

Ideally, I would have loved to welcome this newest addition just two years after my youngest was born, but fate had a different hand in the cards. That ideal would have been nearly achievable when my husband and I were both on the same page of adding another child, but enter in a few more miscarriages and a 18-month battle with infertility, and our fourth child is set to be born just a few months shy of my youngest child's 5th birthday — a few days before my oldest celebrates his 8th birthday. 

It's a whole new territory for me, even though I am a “seasoned mom.” I admit, I was very wary of this difference early on in my pregnancy and, although I was so crazy happy we were expecting, I was worried. I have had a lot of time to adjust to it, and while for me, it's easier to see all the scarier things about this age gap, there are some things I am actually looking forward to.

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1) The pregnancy itself has been fun: For the first time in my experience, the kids have an understanding of what pregnancy is. They comment on how big my belly is getting, they love to feel him move, and they've been really interested in helping to pick out clothes and items needed for when he arrives. We talk a lot about what birth will bring, when it will happen, and what to expect when he comes home. I love watching them get so excited about it and seeing their bond with their not-yet-born brother grow. 

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2) They are already asking to help: I can't imagine what it's going to be like when baby boy is here and I have three willing helpers around. No more taking the kid with me to use the washroom or trying to hold down a wiggly baby to reach for that just-out-of-reach-and-desperately-needed diaper. The kids have all expressed how much they're looking forward to helping out (not with diapers, though), and I am looking forward to the help. 

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3) They are old enough to “get it”: I think, since the kids will be 8, nearly 7, and nearly 5-years of age when baby boy is born, that we're going to be past the stage where resentment may come into play — I am hopeful, anyway. They're old enough to understand the importance of being patient; they can play independently, and are even able to get their own breakfasts in the morning. No more juggling and using the “triage system” I've adapted for getting all the needs of everyone met at once.  

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4) The new baby can learn so much: Kids can learn so much from each other, and I've seen it happen with my own kids. All I had to do was teach the oldest something, and he's totally eager to teach his sisters the same skill or task. They're able to pick up on it at an earlier age, thanks to this system, and I am certain that baby boy is going to learn so much from his older brother and sisters since they know so much now. 

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5) It's like starting all over: My older kids are all in school now, so two of them are gone Monday through Friday for 8 hours, and my third child is gone for 8 hours, two times a week. It's going to be strange to be home alone with just one child again for most of the week, but I think it's a wonderful opportunity for one-on-one bonding for myself and the newborn without compromising the activities of my older kids. 

:: What is the age difference between your kids, and what are the benefits? Share in the comments! ::

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8 Years Difference? Why I’m Looking Forward to My Kids’ Age Gap

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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4 comments

  1. Andreah says:

    My three boys are 8 1/2, 7, and 5 1/2, and we’re trying for one more. If all goes well, my oldest will be 9 or 10 when the last baby is born, and the youngest will be 6 or 7. I think it will be a good age gap. My kids really want another sibling to help take care of and play with.

  2. Sandy says:

    There is a 6 year age difference between my 2 kids.My son is 8 1/2 years old my daughter is 2 1/2 years old.So by the time my daughter starts kindergarten my son will be in middle school.

  3. I have an almost, 7 year old son, and a 6 month old daughter. There is almost exactly 6 1/2 years in between the two. I thought that because my son had been raised as an only child that I would have a rough road to hoe with the two. I had terrible fears and night mares of horrible jealousy from him. (He has shown jealous tendencies about me.) So, in order to combat any of that, for the first two months that she was around I made DARNED sure, that at LEAST once a week he had mommy and me time, and then daddy and him time, and then we all had a special family time. (Games, movie theater, etc.) Now, as I stated, she is almost 6 months old, and he is an absolute delight. He is old enough to help, and if it’s for the baby he has never once argued with me about helping out. No matter what it may be. Which is new! So many people had me scared that he would be basically a terror and an absolute nightmare… And it has been so much of the opposite. Even now, I tell people the age difference, and their first response, always, is, “Oh that must be hard!” And I get to tell them, actually, no, it truly could not have worked out better! He LOVES his little sister. He LOVES being a big brother. Being an only child can get lonely. And even though only children tend to want to do only what they want to do, it’s still nice for them to have some one to do it with.

  4. EbyMom says:

    I have two now and hop for more. They re two yrs apart cos I jus joined my husband but lets see hw it goes with the third. As long as one has no probs you can have them together from 1 yr + as your strength permits and move on with training them. I believe it is not going to be easy.

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