The Pros and Cons of a bigger age gap. How many years do you have between your children? I have 9 years (yes 9) between my two. I often wonder if people want to ask me was it a choice to have such a big gap or did we have any issues with conceiving our second, hence it’s such a big gap. But no, we just didn’t feel ready to add to our family after a difficult delivery with L and some lifestyle changes which included moving abroad.
There are of course pros and cons to any age gap but I thought I would share the ones I have found having such a big gap.
L was 8 when I fell pregnant. She was at an age where she could understand and she felt more involved. She really wanted a little brother so taking her along for our 4D scan seeing her face when the sonographer announced we were having a little boy was priceless. I also found she was able to understand the early and late pregnancy tiredness or if I felt like I didn’t want to do anything other than just sit and do nothing. I didn’t have to ‘run’ round after her. Once C was born she understood I needed to spend time with him, feeding, soothing his cries through reflux and rocking him to sleep. She was able to get herself something to eat or a drink if she needed one if I was tied up seeing to him.
Quality one on one time:
I felt like I was able to give each child one on one time much more than I would have if I had them close in age. For 9 years L had us to ourselves and once C come along, L was in school for 6 hours a day so he also had my time to himself for a good period of time. I took L to lots of baby groups when she was little suited to her age groups and again I was able to do the same for him too.
This isn’t exactly a pro for siblings with a big age gap because obviously, any siblings have a bond. But they have always had such a lovely bond. When C was just weeks old he would hear L’s voice and immediately turn his little head to see where she was. One of his first words was La La because he couldn’t say her full name and on a Monday morning when we dropped her off at school he would cry, sobbed real tears because he knew she would be off at school all day and he missed her being around. I would also hear them on the monitor at night when she was in saying good night to him and all I would hear was “Love you Lauram (his next name he called her after La La) night night Lauram, Love you” As they’ve got older they still have a lovely bond. L really looks out for him and protects him.
But all of that said it does have its disadvantages having such a bit age gap. They are now almost 15 and 5.
Being an only child:
Although they’re not, both of them have been like only children. L didn’t have any siblings to play toys with when she was little and C is now the same – L isn’t at an age where she wants to sit and play Paw Patrol with him or run around the house dressing up playing hide and seek.
Both of them have never really had a playmate at home. They do spend time together and will play the occasional board game but having a sibling close in age to sit on the floor and play with Playmobil or the likes hasn’t really happened. They’ve not known any different, so it’s been ok and they’ve played well on their own and had great imaginations still, but the only time they’ve had that playtime together is when they’ve had friends for playdates.
Days Out/Family Time:
In the beginning days out were ok – where ever we went both of them would get something out of it. These days however we’re finding what C is into L finds boring. Like soft play, for instance, it’s not big age gap friendly. If we do end up going on a weekend then L will either choose to stay at home or she’ll just sit with us. So when we go out as a family we have to make sure we go somewhere both of them will enjoy. Like theme parks, the beach, swimming etc.
I asked L what the pro’s and con’s for her having a big age gap with her brother were and these were her thoughts.
- She said they don’t argue as much. They don’t scabble over toys or what they want to watch on TV. They do argue but that’s mostly because he’s winding her up and she just wants to be a teenager and spend her morning lounging around in bed on the weekend and he wants to be up at 7am playing loudly or having his music on the loudest setting he can whilst dancing around the living room.
- She feels she looks out for him more as an older sibling. She cares about him from a motherly point of view.
- She enjoys his achievements and is proud of him when she comes along to watch him at his swimming lessons when she seems him swim without armbands, or he goes up a level in his reading books in school – she thinks if she was younger she wouldn’t be as bothered about things like that.
- He’s difficult to play with and it’s hard to relate to him when he wants to sit and play with things like his Playmobil or fire engines. She said apart from friends, she grew up with no-one to play with herself as well.
- He can be a bit annoying and it’s hard when she’s trying to do her homework and he doesn’t understand that she can’t do something with him.
Apart from that though she can’t think of anymore.
There’s never a right or wrong gap to have between your children. There are always going to be advantages or disadvantages aren’t there? It will always work and you just adapt to what you have.