Motherhood

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Kendra Smoot

What age difference do you have between your kids, if you have them? Or between your siblings? Here, five mothers share their kids’ different age gaps…

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Abbey’s boys, Alex and Ben, are 8 3/4 years apart. She says: “When the baby was born, Alex was about to turn nine. We had secondary infertility, and I had a lot of anxiety about the age difference, but things that are good about it are: there’s so much less fighting, and Alex is really helpful. It’s like having another set of hands — he opens the door for the stroller and grabs the wipes for me. He also delights in the baby. The baby calls bread ‘bun bun’ and it just tickles Alex. Because they are so far apart, they don’t play as peers, but they play together in some ways — like Alex will make a fort and the baby will enjoy it. We work hard to make sure Alex isn’t another parent. He’ll definitely discipline the baby sometimes, and I’m like, that’s my job. And he’s a much harsher would-be parent than I am! Overall, I think this age gap has totally exceeded my expectations of what a sibling connection can be. When I was pregnant, so many people said things like, ‘I had 10 years between my oldest brother and me and we’re so close.’ So, I didn’t plan it, but it’s pretty great!”

Kendra Smoot daughters

Kendra’s daughters, Stella and Imogen, are five years apart. She says: “I was 27 when I had Stella, and it wasn’t totally planned. I went back to work when she was six months old, and my career started going, and we just didn’t really think about having another one. Then, when she was four, I was like, if we do want to have another kid, I guess we should do this. When I was pregnant with Imogen, and Stella was in kindergarten, I was patting myself on the back about the age gap. But then there were a couple years when I was like, this was so dumb — one kid was tired of going to the park, and the other kid always wanted to go to the park. I wondered if I should have had them closer together. But now I’m back to feeling good about it. I mean, Stella can babysit! We went on vacation and, after a full day as a family, my husband and I went out to late dinners! So, it all kind of shakes out.”

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Kady’s girls, Sylvie and Neeve, are 2 1/2 years apart. She says: “I remember being intentional about the age gap being around two years, if possible. I wanted my kids to be close in age so they’d have common interests. My sister is seven years younger, and when I was little, I was always asking my mom for a sibling. So, I wanted that for my children — the company, a playmate, etc. It’s funny, when I look back at pictures when Sylvie was born, Neeve was still such a baby. She could barely speak! But at the time, I saw her as this really big sister. I like the age difference.”

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Olivia’s kids, Jimmy and Bo, are one year (and a week) apart. She says: “My kids are the closest in age that I’ve heard of, aside from twins. It was planned — which surprises people — because I’d been a nanny and I thought, let’s get all the diaper years over and done with. So, I was pregnant with a three-month-old baby. The first year was pretty crazy. The most trying thing was that every phase was double the time — so you’d have the terrible twos, but it would be two years long; or teething wasn’t be six months, it was twelve months. Nowadays, when they play well together, it’s incredible, but they’re permanently competitive. The younger one sees the older one always doing something first, not realizing it’s because she’s older, since they seem the same age. So, I try hard to focus on their individual talents and achievements.”

What Age Gap Do Your Kids Have?

Sharon has twin boys, Oscar and Owen. She says: “The first year was total chaos. Sometimes I couldn’t tell them apart when they were tiny babies and I just didn’t care! I was so exhausted, it honestly didn’t matter. Plus, they fed at the same time and even pooped at the same time. But when my kids turned one, to help people tell them apart, I decided that Owen would have short hair and Oscar would have long hair. And that’s still true, a decade later. I wanted them to feel like brothers, versus twins, and have their own identities. Another thing: People always think twins will be extra close, and maybe they will, but there doesn’t need to be that pressure. My boys have really different interests, and they get along well, but they don’t need to be best friends just because they’re twins.”

What about the kids in your life? What’s the age gap? How do you feel about it? Toby and Anton are three years apart — here’s the day they met. :)

P.S. On having an only child, and three words that changed how I parent.

(Top photo from Kendra Smoot’s Instagram.)

  1. My brother is slightly less than 14 months older than me. I’ve always LOVED how close in age we are – it made growing up so fun, always having a companion going through (pretty much) the same thing as me, but someone else to be brave and do things first. We did compete a LOT and I think I have some trauma related to that feeling of always feeling like I wasn’t as good as him (because it felt like I should be since we were basically peers). He got on my nerves so much in middle school, and then I resented that he started hanging out with my group of friends in high school (we went to prom in the same group!), but we’re super close now. I want to have kids close in age too. But maybe not that close. ;)

  2. Anna Wagstaff says...

    My sister and I are 363 days apart so I arrived home from the hospital on her first birthday. Sometimes we feel like twins since I’ve spent 22/31 years of my life with her as a roommate, but she is also a wise older sister. I feel so lucky my mom wanted us to be close.

  3. Sanders says...

    Our son and daughter are 10 years apart. Our daughter is on the cusp of 7 while our son is 16 and a junior in high school. It was hard to start all over again after feeling like we’d reached a stage of independence. They are both at stages of development now that are challenging and I often wonder what it would have been like to have them closer in age. She looks up to him while he is annoyed by her. It can make for a tense household.

    • Martha says...

      My brother is 11 years older than me and there were some tense times (no 17 year old boy enjoys his little sister embarrassing him in front of his friends) but we became really close as soon as we were old enough to go on adventures by ourselves. It was amazing going camping or taking the train or even just going to the cinema just the two of us. When he went to university I’d stay with him during my school holidays and it was so much fun. We’ve stayed really close ever since, and I’m now friends with all of his friends who used to babysit me! I think there’s a real advantage in not being competitive – we weren’t ever at the same stage so we weren’t competing academically or for our parents’ time or for friends. So hang in there!

  4. LLL says...

    I just realized while reading this that I am hard on myself about our kids’ age gap (3 years and 3 months, but 4 years in school because my oldest is born in late summer and my youngest in early fall). This is so dumb, but I had a miscarriage before having my lovely second child and I guess I got hung up on the “original” age gap of 3 years (and two summer birthdays, 3 years apart in school). How silly; but still, for some reason, it bothers me that they are so far apart in school.

  5. Joan says...

    There are 7 of us in 11 years. The closest are 11 months apart and the farthest apart, 3.5 years. Yikes!

  6. Zulema says...

    Wow 1 year apart(!). Mine are 17 mo apart and the second one was a surprise. I was 4 months pregnant when my Oldest was 6 months Old. I was sad, in the beginning, when I found out of the pregnancy because I felt I would be taking away attention that my older one needed. It’s been tough! But like all things it takes time to adjust. My oldest one was also diagnosed with Autism so it’s like having twins in a sense. But things happen for a reason. My husband was talking about us having a 3rd child an I’m like 😳…lete forget how hard babies are first 😅.

  7. Stephanie says...

    I just love seeing this conversation in action! So much of parenting is winging it, even on the pregnancy front. My two boys are three years a part. I unfortunately miscarried between them and it took me a good year to mourn the loss. I never thought my kids would be more than two years a part (we all go into some idea of what we want our family to look like!) but the three year gap has been wonderful for our current place in life. I always feared my boys wouldn’t be close being three years a part, but they are BEST FRIENDS at 2.5 and 5.5! And the cool thing, we don’t feel we’re finished having kids, and the next one may just be 4-5 years age difference! I had my first when i was 27, and at 33 I still feel I have a good 6 years in me before I want to be finished with the baby stage. Accepting what works best for our current family, even though it looks much different than i always imagined, has been very freeing.

  8. Jennifer says...

    My brother and I are 2.5 years apart – but 2 years in school. It’s shaped my life in more ways than I can count – all for the better in my opinion. I put a lot of pressure on myself to have my kids be 2 years apart in school. I’m currently 10 weeks pregnant and they are on track to be exactly 2 years apart. Part of me is terrified that I’m already putting TOO much pressure on their relationship based on my own relationship with my brother. I’ve felt intentional in my parenting that I don’t project my own wishes and dreams on my daughter and yet – here I am – projecting this one, huge dream.

  9. Jessika says...

    I am currently pregnant with our second babe and when the baby is born our daughter will be 7. I always thought that I wanted children close in age, but with me being a graduate student… that close in age thing just didn’t work out for us.

    I am so glad we had those 6 years with our oldest just by herself during her childhood. I know they won’t be as close when they’re young, but I know as they grow older they’ll find more things in common like my brother and I did (12 years apart).

  10. Sasha says...

    Reading this last week, I was 8 weeks pregnant with my second and so happy about the expected 2.5 year age gap between this baby and my first. In the past few days, I have sadly miscarried and our timeline, plans and so many other things feel uncertain and painful. I came back to this post this morning and felt some hopefulness, knowing that although 2.5 years isn’t in the cards for us anymore, my daughter will (hopefully) still have a sibling, and whatever the age gap, there is still potential for a beautiful and meaningful sibling relationship. Thank you <3

    • Junny says...

      Sasha, sending you a virtual hug. I also recently miscarried my second and was so excited about my babies being 2 years apart (like I had hoped). I’m working on not putting so much pressure on myself to get pregnant again immediately and properly mourn the loss, which seems to come and go in waves. I’ve been revisiting this post’s comment section to reassure myself that the age gap doesn’t matter in the end (which it has), and our family will indeed grow some day. Thank you for your comment, it made me feel not so alone.

  11. Katherine says...

    I really appreciate the comment about twins not having to be best friends. I am a triplet and everyone always asks if I’m close with my brothers. We honestly aren’t that close but of course we love each other! I think after 18 years of being up each other’s butts in every way (same teachers, same homework, same friends, same field trips, EVERYTHING), we are still relishing in the space from each other. Nothing can be as painful and special as understanding everything on the same level as your siblings because you’re the same age.

  12. Mina says...

    My first and second are 19 months apart, and my second and third are 21 months apart. It’s intense of course (I have zero memories at all from the first year with two kids under 2), but they are such a great little gang of friends. I sometimes feel guilty that they don’get much one-to-one time with us, but then i see the friendship they have and feel like we actually gave them the best gift of all.

  13. bec says...

    My brother is almost 2 years older than me and we don’t really get along, even as adults. He loves to push buttons and I react very easily, so it was tough growing up and my parents didn’t know how to deal with it. I moved overseas very young and really appreciated growing into my own person without the stress of my brother around. Now I’m about to move back to my home country and have to remember to keep the maturity I’ve gained while away and not let him get to me anymore! I always seem to have less patience with my bro than with anyone else, I need to keep my cool and maybe he’ll step down too.
    My partner’s sister is 3 years older and they have such a great relationship, they are genuinely good friends, but I think he is very passive and she’s a bit bossy and that’s why they get along well.
    My parents always said wait until you’re older, so I was always disappointed that our relationship didn’t seem to improve. It’s so lovely to read comments from everyone and different perspectives on the age gap. I hope that I will cultivate a more peaceful household when I have children :)

  14. JMT says...

    My kids are 5.5 years apart and it’s worked beautifully for us. They are now 19 and 14 and while they have always been close, they delight in each other’s company now which makes my heart so full.

  15. Simone Daher says...

    I had a 15 yr old and 11 yr old when I had my third child. They are now 30, 26 and 15. Worked well for us, no matter how unintentional it was.
    My sister had hers 11 months apart. Definitely not planned!!!

  16. K. says...

    My son and daughter (now 14 and 11) are 2.5 years apart. I wanted to have kids close in age like my sister and I. We did everything together growing up. However, my two have never played together much, to my great disappointment. I tried for years to facilitate them playing together, but it usually fell apart pretty quickly. My son, the older one, has an intense personality and always wanted to play with older kids, but never his little sister, who he pretty much disdained from the get-go. He’s got lots of good qualities, just not a good sibling! I’ve had to get over it. I always say I’ve raised two only children, because they do everything separately.

  17. Trina says...

    Six-and-a-half-year difference between my brother and me! And there’s just the two of us. He was a honeymoon baby but my mom wanted to wait until they were financially settled before having me, and then I was planned out to the month, haha (they were first-generation immigrants; left up to my dad, there would’ve been about five or six of us). Given the age gap and the fact that my brother has a more gregarious/extroverted personality and me an extremely quiet/introverted one, I basically never stood a chance growing up when it came to defending myself from getting picked on—at least not until I was big enough size-wise to stand my ground when he’d come chasing me with the vacuum cleaner (something we still laugh about—the moment his older-brother teasing broke). But, I worshipped my big bro, and it’s fair to say I still do, haha. So it’s been interesting for me to see the dynamic between my nephew and niece; they are, by contrast, three years apart in age. She likewise worships him and loves to play with him, but they also get into way more arguments than I ever did or could with my brother … partly because they’re closer in age, but also perhaps because she’s a big personality too. :)

  18. Mary says...

    My children are almost three years apart (2 and 8 months to be exact). My first was an unexpected pregnancy (at 27 and gave birth at 28) and our second was planned. My husband and I decided that we don’t want our kids to be far apart in age and we’re also not getting any younger.

  19. Amy says...

    My niece and nephew, Scout and Nico, are exactly 364 days apart!! Nico arrived a bit earlier than expected making them super close in age. Their parents wanted to have them close to get through the diaper and bottle phases quickly. It can be chaos at times, but it’s a joy to see them interact and play together and grow up side by side! Being their Aunty is the best!

  20. Emily says...

    I guess I am the kid in my life! I’m a fraternal twin and have a twin brother. We have never been best friends and had a lot of conflict growing up, but are also each other’s fiercest protectors (to everyone else but us). It’s a funny relationship but I’d have no interest at all in changing it. Our older brother is four and a half years older and we both love and look up to him so much in different ways. He and I ended up living a block apart while I was in undergrad and he was in grad school and it was so fun to connect as adult siblings and friends. It makes me super sad to live far away from both brothers (for now)!

  21. Christa says...

    I’ve lived a little of all the potential sibling age gaps—I’m the oldest of five children. My younger brother is two years younger than me and it was just us until my mom became unexpectedly pregnant and gave birth to my oldest little sister when I was ten. My parents, feeling that my sister would be “like an only child” decided they needed to have another and when I was twelve my middle little sister was born. Then my dad got a vasectomy. However, he never went to his post vasectomy follow up appointment and when I was just shy of 15 my littlest sister was born. My dad later had a second vasectomy and made it to the follow up that time haha. I liked being in a big family for the most part but I was definitely more of a second mom to my sisters than a big sister—my parents also relied on me heavily to provide help and childcare which did make me resentful from time to time. (Take note: parents to big sibling sets!) When it came to my own family planning, I always assumed I’d have two, spaced close together. I have always been close with my brother and with the cost of living it seemed the most reasonable from a financial standpoint. When my daughter was ten months old I became unexpectedly pregnant, which I embraced only to miscarry at 12 weeks. I ended up hospitalized with a really gnarly infection after that which was scary, but less than a year later I was pregnant again. Unfortunately, that pregnancy was ectopic so I had to have emergency surgery and had my right Fallopian tube removed. After all that, my doctor told me she thought I had a really good chance to still conceive and have a healthy pregnancy but I wasn’t so sure. I really felt like I needed to examine my reasons for wanting another child. I felt so complete with my daughter, and hated the idea of putting myself and my family through another traumatic experience, it just felt like society at large was telling me my family wouldn’t be complete unless I had (at least) one more child. One morning not too long after my ectopic pregnancy, a mama friend was over to have coffee and visit—she also had one daughter—a year older than mine. I asked her if she was planning to have another and she said no—she and her husband wanted to be able to travel and afford to live comfortably and they have some pretty scary genetic diseases than run in their family and didn’t want to gamble there/felt lucky to have a healthy daughter. I told her I totally got it but wasn’t sure if my daughter would be messed up by the lack of siblings. Aren’t only children selfish? Socially inept? She recommended I read the book “One and Only” by Lauren Sandler and I did and it completely changed my perspective. The book goes through the stereotypes and actual research that’s been done. It felt comforting to know that there was no real reason why I needed to have another child. This is not to say that I don’t think anyone should have multiple children—by all means if you want them and can provide for them, have all the babies! However, I just want to say that if you don’t that’s okay too and the research around only children is mostly really, really positive. <3

    • Sarah says...

      Thank you for this comment and the book recommendation. I’m constantly agonizing over whether I should have another child (Toby and Anton are a big reason I keep thinking about a second kid! they are so sweet together!) but my husband and I feel quite complete with our son, and honestly it’s been really really hard transitioning to parenthood, even though I love being a mother and I have truly the best kid ever, and I don’t know if I/we have the emotional bandwidth to have another. One feels like a good number for us, like we can do this parenting thing really well with one. But all of the what if’s keep drifting into my consciousness. Anyway, I’m going to read that book, and thank you for sharing your perspective.

    • Rabia says...

      Christa! Thank you for sharing this. I will read that book you recommended because the amount of unsolicited advice I get about how I’m doing my kid this huge disservice really gets me down.

  22. I am 38 and I have 5 kids ages 19, 17, 7, 4, and 2. I was a single mom of my two older children for about 10 years. I married my husband at age 30 and we had our three younger children. It’s a BIG age gap between my teens and younger three children! I’ve been having a little bit of a challenging time adjusting to my teens preparing to go to college and the military and adjusting to my three little ones reaching their milestones. It’s always a mix of emotions!! I think I cry at least once a week about it (in private because my husband and kids don’t know). LOL!

  23. LT says...

    would have loved to see some bigger age gaps in the article- those are always the most interesting stories in my opinion! for example my brother-in-law is 15(!) years older than his half-brother and the dynamic has always been really interesting to me.

    • Martha says...

      I agree! There’s 11 between my older brother and me (parents had him as students and then me in their 30s) and then my dad remarried and had my two little sisters – the youngest was born when my brother was 38! It’s been weird and amazing in equal measure for me, going from being the very little sister to being the middle one age 22 to the second oldest at age 27! My littlest sister is now seven and is only five years older than my toddler, and they absolutely adore each other. Sometimes when we all go out as a family I can see people trying to work out which of us are parents and which are children, which is hilarious.

  24. brittney says...

    Me and my older brother are only 11 months apart. We were born in the same calendar year; him in January, me in December. It has been the best thing to have an older brother who is also pretty much the same age. By the time our younger brother came along when I was 8 he was joining a cohesive team of big kids who were ready for a new member of the tribe. Siblings man, they’re everything.

  25. Courtney says...

    My kids are 10, 6, and 15 months right now. So there’s a 3.5 year gap between my first two, and a 5 year gap between my second two; my oldest and youngest are almost 9 years apart. It was certainly not planned–miscarriages, indecision, and a surprise last pregnancy all played a role. It’s definitely not what I would have chosen, but it’s worked out so well. My oldest is the best big brother; always has been. He was entranced with my daughter when she was born and now that our youngest is here he just looooves him. He also is so helpful–entertaining the baby, watching him, getting out of bed in the morning. And the 10yo and 6yo play together a lot (sometimes they hate each other, but more often not). The 6yo isn’t quite big enough to be helpful with the baby yet–she can’t pick him up–but she loves getting in the bath with him and making him laugh. Someone in a previous comment called their youngest a “dessert baby” … my dad called ours a “caboose.” He said caboose babies are the best, and he was totally right–with two older kids we now have a lot better perspective on phases and stages that will pass, and knowing he’s the last one we’re all really savoring every minute. It’s not perfect (sometimes all three of them are crying at once! I’ve only found five meals that everyone will eat!) and we’re definitely mostly still in the “all joy and no fun” stage, but I love it.

    • BD says...

      Our three are almost the same age gaps, but older. It was planned for us, and it’s great. It’s nice that my oldest can babysit for us and it’s nice that the youngest isn’t yet in the thick of extracurricular activities. I cannot imagine having to schedule and transport three children simultaneously with sports schedules, math help, play dates, etc. I often feel like people space kids close together to get through the baby stage quickly, but I’ve found that the middle school years are actually far more difficult than the baby years. No one is going to say that they don’t like the spacing of their kids, people make it work however it works, but I’m grateful that I don’t have three kids going through the intensity of the middle years at the same time.

  26. Sasha L says...

    I was 23 when my first daughter was born and we thought we’d wait until I was finished with my PhD and I had a good job before we had another, but nope, my second daughter was born 22 months later. I thought it would be a disaster, but it was great. They were best playmates forever, and the very hard very little stage went really quickly. My husband and I still feel pretty young (46 & almost 52) and it feels great to have grown children and still have a lot of happiness ahead of us (hopefully). Also that our parents got to enjoy our children. And if our children do have kids, we’ll get to be part of their lives (hopefully, although I’m super ok with them not having kids too).

    I think so many things matter MORE than spacing (or parental age). My husband’s brother is five years older, not close. And my brothers are only 10.5 months apart (can you imagine??), but not close at all as adults, nor are they to me 11 & 12 years apart. Family happiness and closeness has so much more to do with trust, boundaries, decent parenting, how well children are taught/helped to cope with trauma. And plain old personalities.

    • Emily says...

      love this comment about what makes siblings close! thanks for sharing and totally agree.

  27. sarah says...

    I have three kids all 18 months apart. Inside, I felt an overwhelming force to have more babies after my first daughter was born (I was 33), the next two babies came fast and it was crazy – working full time/moving from CA to TX then back again to CA. We essentially had 3 under 3 – and mostly I love it and the ‘idea’ of these 3 little sweet ducklings, but there is a HELLOFALOT of fighting. SO MUCH! I wasn’t prepared for that as I have a brother 6 years younger and there wasn’t much bickering given the age difference. But all in all, it’s so awesome and crazy :)

    • Christine says...

      One brother is 3 years older, the other is 19 months younger. I didn’t get along with my younger brother at all (personalities) and adored my older brother. As adults, though, I don’t have a relationship with either. My husband is 7 years younger than his sister (a stillborn baby in between). He has a great relationship with his sister (they run a business together!) but he felt like an only child growing up. I’m fine with one, but he wants a sibling for our daughter, now 3. He feels like he missed out on the sibling relationship. He’s also convinced they will play with each other so it will be “easier” – ha! But there’s just no way to predict.

    • Kelly says...

      my girls are 5.75 years apart and also bicker, endlessly. My older daughter is by nature a big reactor, and my little one is a big instigator (since she was able to as a baby, she would find any button or switch available and push it over and over again to see what happens…). thus All. Day. Long little sister pushes big sister’s buttons, big sister screams, yells, calls for MOOOOM. and repeat!

  28. Lora says...

    There are thirteen years between my oldest sibling and my youngest, and the age gap was something I struggled with growing up. I’m 1.5 years younger than my oldest sibling, and then there are about 6 years between the rest of us. I was 11 years old when the youngest was born, and I felt so forgotten about—like I lost my mom when I needed her most. I felt like my friends got to do age appropriate things with their moms (like go shopping, or out to lunch) and there wasn’t really time for us to do those things and we always had to bring the baby stroller. I felt ashamed too, because of my friend’s reactions. We were at the age of starting to learn about sex, etc. so people had a lot of comments about it and it made me feel embarrassed. I felt like my needs were not important. When I needed my first bra, when I got my first period, my mom wasn’t there for me. I felt ashamed that I needed anything at all, and unworthy. As an adult, I became a people-pleaser, and didn’t make my needs or preferences clear to people (along with many other related challenges).

    I’m 30 years old now, and I’ve learned so much in my three years of therapy. My mom did the best she could, but she couldn’t give me the emotional health that she herself didn’t have. I can’t change the past, but I can ensure that the generational trauma me and my siblings experienced ends with me. I hope to have children soon and, regardless of the years between them, I hope to have great empathy for the way they may feel about themselves and their role in the family. I think the age gap in my family would have been just fine if we were all emotionally well and cared for.

    If anyone has felt similarly, I recommend the book “Running on Empty” by Dr. Jonice Webb. The concept of Childhood Emotional Neglect was life-changing for me and a starting point for my healing.

    • Sarah says...

      Lora, I had a similar experience. I was 10 when my youngest sibling (five of us in total!) was born. Growing up, there was always someone younger who needed more attention and when the youngest was born when I went to college, I felt orphaned emotionally.

      Therapy has helped facilitate a lot of healing but o still grieve my childhood. Thanks for sharing that book, I’m going to add it to my list!

    • Lora says...

      Makes me feel less alone Sarah, thank you! That’s exactly how it feels—always someone who needs more attention than you, so you just kind of float off into your future alone. I think my youngest sibling had a totally different experience in our family (better in some ways, worse in others). I hope you find the book helpful!

    • Christina says...

      Thank you! Ordering book.

  29. Heather says...

    I have three children, all surprises. The first two are four years apart. and the third came along 10 years later. My doctor called her our dessert baby. I think that is lovely. They are all close to one another, just in different ways. I would say my youngest has the best of both worlds. She has siblings to count on for support, but as they are away at college and no longer live at home she has the day to day advantages of an only child. She has cousins her age nearby and loves that. I wouldn’t change the age gaps.

  30. Y says...

    My girls are 25 years apart. It’s a very long story but I believe things happen the way they are suppose to. They had an instant bond and some how as a very small baby, my youngest always knew that her sister was some one special in her life. They have never lived in the same house, but have always made sure to include each other in their lives. They have supported each other during their father’s cancer diagnosis. I never had a sister so I am so grateful they have each other. I will say raising a teen age girl again is amazing when you have a cheat sheet!

    • Nora says...

      My sister and I are eight years apart, and we had a sibling between us who passed away when we were children—so we were all just a couple of years apart, but wound up being two girls with an 8-year age gap. She and I are lucky to be incredibly close, but people CONSTANTLY comment on the gap even though we are grown adults. We get wink-wink suggestions that I (the youngest) was a mistake, wonder that my parents would “do something like that,” and bizarrely personal follow-up questions from people we’ve literally just met. It never stops being a little jarring that people react this way (and I’ve only a couple of times gotten fed up when someone is being extremely obnoxious and replied “actually there was another child in the middle, would you like to hear the tragedy of our lives?”).

      Thank you for featuring families with a variety of age gaps! I think it helps normalize families looking many different ways. I’ve learned there is no perfect gap; I have friends who are within two years of their siblings and barely have a relationship, and still others who are best friends. Every family has their own story—and you never know what they’ve been through to get that way.

  31. Elise says...

    There are nearly six years between me and my younger brother. We weren’t close in childhood but things improved greatly when I left for college (he was 12). Now we (and our spouses) are super close, live in the same city, and our first babies will be 9 months apart! It’s the best.

  32. Megan Snyder says...

    My youngest brother is over nine years younger than me. In some ways, it doesn’t feel exceptional–we lived under the same roof for well over a decade and sat at the kids’ table together countless times. But not many people can say they vividly remember caring for their sibling when they were an infant. I used to love getting my brother up in the morning when he was a baby. I’d gently wake him, pick him up under his arms, and raise him out of his crib, and he’d do this ginormous midair streeeeeeetch. His chubby face would wrinkle and his back would arch–then he’d look at me and grin, as though to say, “I’m happy to see you.” Now that I’m an adult, I don’t want babies of my own, but I feel so fortunate to have had those sweet moment with my now-grown brother.

    • Cece says...

      My brother is 8 years younger than me (there are only 3 of us, just quite big gaps) and I felt the same way! I did so much babysitting and caring for him when he was tiny. It’s a different sibling relationship but it was a very close one, and it probably only became a bit more distant when I left home at 18.

  33. Kaysie says...

    I’m currently 8 weeks from giving birth to my second child, which will put my kids at 4.5 years apart. I had REALLY hard time getting pregnant the second time around and I became unhealthily obsessed with how far apart my kids would be.

    And then a conversation with a friend completely changed my perspective. She said, “For the vast majority of their lives, your kids will be adults together and that gap will shrink significantly. People get so hung up on childhood but you’re only a kid for a small fraction of a lifetime.”

    It really put things into perspective for me and she was, of course, totally right. My sister is 4 years older and my brother is 4 years younger and we ADORE each other as adults.

    • Maria says...

      Congrats Kaysie! Your friend’s advice is so helpful! We had never planned on having kids super close, but liked the idea of about 3 years. But falling pregnant the second time was hard and I had a couple miscarriages, which resulted in a 5 1/2 year gap. I worried about it sooo much when trying to conceive (it made the miscarriages even harder as I was obsessed with the ever widening age gap!), but my now almost 6.5 year old son absolutely adores his almost 1 year old sister and they have a very special bond.

      I’m not sure I’d chose it, but I remind myself that a couple years here or there won’t matter at all when they’re older. I had many friends who are 5+ years older and younger than me and it doesn’t a bit. I’m also not at all close to my brother who is 3 years older or my sister who is 3 years younger. I’m closest to my sister who is just one year younger, but not at all because of age (and we weren’t actually close at all as kids/teens). As others have said, it really does seem to depend on personality mostly.

    • Tania says...

      I’ve got secondary infertility while trying for our third child, and at times I’m also unhealthily obsessed with the age gap we might end up with (now looking at 5 years from my youngest). So thank you, this is a really helpful comment, putting things in perspective.

  34. Alice says...

    So I have an older half-sister 14 years older than me, two full brothers (one 2.5 years older, one 1.5 years younger), and a younger half-sister 19 years younger than me. All five of us have the same dad, so there’s a 35 year gap between my older and younger sisters…!

    Understandably, I’m not particularly close to either of my sisters- we’ve never lived together, and have always been in SUCH different phases of life that we’ve never had much in common- and my two half-sisters have a relationship much closer to aunt-niece . But I’ve always been very close to my brothers, and they are very close to each other, despite the four year gap (and a sister!) between them. I can’t imagine how chaotic it was for my mum though with three children under the age of four… she’s amazing!

    I also have THREE pairs of second cousins who are only 11 months apart. None are in the same school year- but imagine having babies 11 months apart and having them in September and August so in the same year at school (in the UK at least!)….!!!

  35. Denise says...

    My younger brother and I are five years and two months apart, and so are my son and daughter. Not by design. My son was a surprise at 25, and we really thought we just wanted one. We decided we’d adopt a daughter if we decided we wanted one more, since boys run overwhelmingly in both families. Four years later, we decided that yes, we did want a daughter, and applied through the local social services. It took 18 months and then bam, here was the little girl that changed all our lives! So many people mentioned the age difference, but it was just normal for me. I love my little brother and we are so close. I helped take care of him, then tortured him, then wasn’t that close for a while, and now we just can’t get enough of each other. My two are the same way!

  36. E says...

    Somehow this post reassured me. I’ve been stressing about figuring out how to have a kid quickly enough that there would be a smallish age difference between it and our niece… my partner is 10 years younger than his sister and 8 younger than his brother. They moved around the country growing up and as a consequence had very different experiences, but now everyone is close (the brothers just started a business together and the older two live together). Despite this I’ve had it in my head that 4 years is too big of a gap for a close relationship and now of course it would be at least 5-6 years. But that will have to be OK. I would love to hear more about the financial side of child rearing! I have a hard time figuring out how to square the physical burden of pregnancy with my labor intensive occupation and our household finances. I have always thought that adoption was appealing but it seems out of reach financially and isn’t a straightforward process either.

  37. PS says...

    I have a 17 year old step-son (only for them) and 4 year old son (only for us), so a 13 year difference. My step-son was not at all interested in the baby, but has gotten better as my son gets older. But he’ll leave for college the same time the little one starts kindergarten. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops. My husband’s brothers are 15 and 14 years older than him and they have great relationships as adults, but they all have the same parents. My step-son is much closer to his mother’s family than his father’s so only time will tell if they are able to maintain a relationship in the future.

  38. Cece says...

    The age gap between my two is 3 years and 9 months – which coincidentally is also the age gap between me and my sister and then between her and my brother. They’ll be 3 school years apart.

    We’re in the UK and for working parents funded daycare hours kick in the term after your child’s third birthday. So there’s a huge number of kids at my daughter’s nursery with tiny baby brothers and sisters now!

    In general I really like this gap, my daughter is articulate and getting more independent and she’s taken the shift well. But if can be really rough getting through the day with them both when they have such totally different developmental needs.

  39. Suzanne says...

    We have four children-three boys and a girl! They are currently 5, 4, 3, and almost 2!! It is a wild party here all of the time. The age gaps are 14 months, 16 months, and 14 months. It has definitely been challenging to have four so close, but I am having so much fun with them and love watching their personalities develop. Also we all do so much better when we spend as much time outside as possible so I scramble to read any articles on here that advocate outside playtime and how to do it in all weather. :-)

  40. teresa says...

    I had my oldest when I was 19 and she is turning 30 in a week. I had her brother the last day of her kindergarten year. I got remarried and had twins when my oldest two were 14 and 8. I had my 2nd daughter in 2009 when the others were 20, 14, and 6. I had my last daughter in 2011 and the others were 22, 16, 8, and 20 months. My youngest was a month old at my oldest daughter’s college graduation. It is like having 3 different sets of kids. The oldest was alone for so long that she is like an only child in many ways. She also just had her first baby so all the other kids are aunts and uncles. The youngest is 8 and very, very jealous. She is used to being the baby! I love watching their relationships develop and change.

  41. Rose says...

    We have boy/girl twins that have been a delight but that first year was incredibly challenging. I didn’t realize just how challenging until I had a singleton son 17 months later. Here I am, pregnant again, and this babe is due 18 months after my son. So, for a short time, we will have four babes under 3 years of age. This terrifies me but I’m hoping for close friendships among the siblings with their built-in playmates.

  42. Jojo says...

    My kids are 3 1/2 years apart. It’s perfect. I could focus on my oldest when she was very little and they are not in competition with each other now. My brother and I are 2 years apart and the competition and sibling rivalry were brutal. My kids aren’t like that at all. I was 7 years older than my sister and she was the sun and moon to me.

    • My brother and I are 3.5 years apart (currently I’m 33 and he’s about to turn 37) and other than a couple pre-teen years when we fought like dogs we’ve been really close – we bonded over our love of music and ended up going to concerts together for years. Growing up it was enough of a gap that we didn’t compete but close enough that we could still hang out and relate to each other easily (and date each other’s friends, haha). These days we have the same political leanings and kids the same age. We get along so well with each other’s spouses that we all vacation together. So I’d have to agree with you that 3.5 years is the perfect gap :)

  43. Katharina says...

    I have three daughters, they are 9 (May), 6 (February) and 3 (April) years old. I think we always wanted to have three kids. The age difference just felt right but there’s always a little bit of luck involved, isn’t there? I was just lucky to get pregnant easily.

    I am an only child and so is my husband.

  44. rach says...

    im so happy to read that second Mother’s perspective, my daughter turned 4 at the end of summer and im finallly ready for another… my daughter will be unbelievable helpful, she is obsessed with babies, and will be in kindergarten by the time, God willing, the second child comes along, so im happy to hear Kendra’s perspective.