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How Far Apart Should I Space My Children?

Updated on April 16, 2015

Your Ideal Family

When it comes to your family or family planning a lot of potential mommies and daddies wonder what the ideal birth spacing of their children might be. The answer is not as simple as the question makes it out to be. When thinking about the spacing of your children a lot of questions come to mind...

How old are you?

  • How old are you and your partner?

Men have the ability to become fathers from puberty until death.

Whether considered a "lucky" ability or a "unlucky" ability it differs greatly for woman.

Woman have a window of about 30ish years or so to have children, from the onset of puberty until menopause.

Puberty is reached in females around the teenage years of ages 12-17 and menopause seems to strike the women population between the ages or 45-55.

Your age is an important number to keep in mind during family planning.

World's Oldest Mom

World's Oldest Mother

Keep in mind were not taking into consideration the minute few who use fertility treatments to achieve pregnancy well into their 60's, 70's etc.

Were talking about the general population of people looking to add to their families.

If your looking for a house full of children then it's best to start as early as circumstances allow and continue on your path until your have created your ideal family size.

Duggar Family
Duggar Family

How many children will you and your partner have?

  • How many children are in your picturesque family?

The Duggars Come to mind...


When planning your ideal family size this question should be at the forefront of your mind. Simply because the amount of children you desire to complete your family is a big factor in the time you have to accomplish those dreams.

Again if a house full of children is your dream it's best to start as early as possible.

Finances, Space, Careers Oh my!

Think about how much added responsibility you and your partner can take on now.

Ask yourself and your partner:

  • Is the time right?
  • If you have the space?
  • The money?
  • Will you still work?
  • Will your partner still work?

And of course keep in mind the amount of children you and your partner desire to complete your family.

Ideal Spacing?

The "experts" say....

The "experts" (whomever that may be) seem to agree that spacing of over two years but averaging around 3-4 years is ideal. This allows the first child time to grow, learn, and become more independent before welcoming another child into the home.

An older child is also more likely to accept a new sibling because they have the ability to understand their roles in the family unit as well as "help" mommy and daddy with their new sibling or siblings.

Some studies suggest that it is very hard for a someone to parent two children in diapers. The theory is that parenting two little one's in diapers makes parenting more about avoiding dangers rather than teaching, enjoying, and understanding one's children.

Regardless of when the exciting news of a new family member strikes the "older" brother or sister role is one that should be supported and praised well before the arrival of baby number 2.

Surpises DO happen....

Sometimes family planning is not possible. Sometimes your new family member has decided he or she is tired of waiting and ready to join you. That's OK some of the best surprises come in little packages, let go of the "plan" and move forward and celebrate your upcoming arrival.

Don't wait to long....

Chances are good that you and your partner will be able to plan your ideal family whenever your start your journey to pregnancy.

However there may be unforeseen bumps along the way and since age is not always on the women's side it's best not to wait to long before "testing" the waters.

Of course this goes without saying that only add to your family when you and your spouse are 100% ready.

Just don't wait till 45 to start planning that ideal family of 4 children.

My girls

Click thumbnail to view full-size

My personal experiences

Growing up...

Born into a family of 2 I was the first child. It was not until 6 years later that I became a big sister.

In essence I was an only child for quite some time, I became accustomed to being the one and only. When my brother came along I was excited, jealous, and with such a large age difference I was in another stage of development.

I truly believe that the age difference between my brother and I has carried on into our adult years where we rarely see eye to eye and seem to be worlds apart in every aspect of life.

My Children...

On the other hand my children are 14 months apart. It wasn't planned that way baby number 2 was a complete surprise and I must admit It was PURE madness those first few months.

But as they grow up and become more independent its getting easier and now they are the best of friends. It was also easier in the aspect of diapers, potty training, manners, lessons, teachings, bed times, nap times bedtime routines etc.

BUT they did miss out on vital one on one mommy time (or so the "experts" believe). I hope that they continue to remain close through the years and even into adulthood. Something I feel I lack with my brother, simply because of our age difference.


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    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi, my brother is 2 and a half years older than me and we were fine, but I only have one son, so I am not sure what the answer is really, my friend has a 6 year old and a 2 year old, at the moment there is a gap but they do seem to be growing closer now, so as long as it is not too huge a gap then its fine, nell

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      My daughters are 4 years apart and to me that was perfect. My granddaughters will be 6 yrs apart when #2 arrives in March. Then again I have a neighbor who has three kids one year apart. Wow! It all depends on the parents to be. Good luck! :)

    • Rfordin profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Florida

      Hey teaches12345,

      I'm still debating on adding to our family although I've been debating for about 2 years now...needless to say IF we are blessed with another child it won't fall into the "experts" ideal spacing suggestions. Thanks for stopping by!


    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      What sweet children! I wish we would have had more children, we have only one son. He is dear to us, but now looking back it would have been nice to have more. However, we do have our grandkids that add to our enjoyment. Loved your sharing and your experience is a great guide for everyone.

    • Rfordin profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Florida

      Yikes, even 7 is a large number I envy you and your husband. Often times with just two little ones my day seems so full of chaos I can't even imagine x7. Thanks for stopping by and commenting I'm glad you and hubby were fournate enough to be able to "plan" the first six.....


    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      My husband and I sat down when our oldest was a toddler and tried to map out what our family would be. We both came from large families and wanted one for ourselves. We felt that 18 months was a good age spread between siblings, as we wanted them to have playmates and for us not to be too old by the time we were done! It worked for the first four, then I started having health issues. We waited three years each between the next two, and thanks to a car accident and an "oops!", only one year between numbers six and seven. They were like twins until they became teens. Now, when we look back on it all, we would not trade any of them for the world!

    • eHealer profile image


      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great hub and asks a burning question. Nowadays, people really plan their children and take more things in consideration. I can't imagine the different challenges that young people face today and have to consider before adding a new member to the family. Very interesting hub.

    • Rfordin profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Florida


      It definitely is a challenge having two children in diapers. I agree that the ideal spacing would be somewhere around 4 years since the broad is off and running in their own lives (semi-so) and mom and dad have the ability to cherish all the individual moments seperetly.

      For me I am thinking about one more child someone where down the road but that begs the question will I than want another one since my daughters now have such a close bond will I feel like baby #3 is lacking that bond? Geeeezzzzz......thanks for stopping by and commenting.


    • Rfordin profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Florida

      @billbuc 15 kids?! I guess to each their own... I can only imagine the spacing involved in that clan. Must have been back to back, constant diaper changes and feedings. I feel like I was an only child too for a long while with such an age difference between myself and my brother but 11 years...that's a HUGE gap. Thanks for stopping by billbuc, as always....


    • flacoinohio profile image


      6 years ago from Ohio

      My wife and I spaced our children four years apart. That way we do not have overlapping children in diapers or going through potty training. We are planning to have a third child next year, our first child will be in second grade and our second child will be starting preschool. I think havinfg children too close together can be a challenge for any parent. Our decision to keep our children four years apart allows me and my wife to not be overstressed by the needs of infants and toddlers and to prevent the children from not getting the individual attention they need. But this is just how my wife and I planned our family and it seems to be working well for us.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was basically an only child with a sister 11 years old than me. My son is an only child. My uncle and aunt, on the other hand, had fifteen kids. Can you imagine? I would have been in a state hospital for the permanently crazy with that many kids. :)

      Great suggestions my friend!


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