#JoJoTakeTwo: Large & Small Age Gaps

As part of our #JoJoTakeTwo campaign, we asked some of our mums at the London office about the age gaps between their children. Whether large or small, there are pros and cons but ultimately siblings will always share a special bond.
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Digital marketing assistant Dilpa, mum to Shiv, 12 and Amba, 3 writes about her experiences:

Is there a large or small age gap between your children?
The age gap between my two children is quite large. My youngest is 3 yrs old and the oldest is 12.

Was this deliberate?
I always wanted to have a smaller age gap between my children. I have 2 other siblings and we all are about 2 years apart and grew up together. We did not deliberately plan to have a huge gap but it just happened to be this way.

The pros of having a larger age gap
An age gap of five or more years is perfect if you want to cherish your first child’s preschool years. When I had my second child, my first one was 9 years old and he was pretty much independent and settled into school. I was able to give him all the love, care and attention he needed.

As you don’t have to worry about those little things like attention, jealousy, sharing toys etc, you are able to spend all your time and energy to enjoy the new baby. I was able to give my youngest lots of individual time while the older one was at school without feeling guilty of having to share the time between them. At the same time, while the baby is snoozing you can still have one-to-one time and re-connect with your big kid.

My older son loves playing with his sister and when he comes home from school it’s lovely to see them playing together. I can leave him to watch over her and entertain her while I catch up with quick chores. He also helps with bath time, changing clothes and generally looking out for her at home or when we are out.

I have also noticed that my younger one is able to pick up many things more quickly from her big brother, like speaking, reading and she was using phone and tablets from the age of 1!

The cons of having a larger age gap
I do find that because both are at different developmental stages, they have different interests. Whilst we take my little one to parks & play areas the older one is more interested in his PS3 and having friends round. As such, they may grow up having little in common. By the time my youngest is at secondary school, my eldest may even have left home for university.

There are days when we are helping my eldest with school work and my youngest wants attention. During school holidays it is difficult to keep both entertained and happy as they have different needs.

You may find you need to refresh your knowledge about local facilities and activities. It is harder to integrate back into the world of play dates and coffee mornings when it’s a completely new crowd and sometimes I just don’t want to bother to make new friends!

The larger gap definitely has an impact on your social life. Whilst my friends and family are all enjoying their children growing up and are socially active, I find myself starting all again and social nights are limited and also you are too tired to go out.

However, there’s no perfect gap that suits absolutely everyone. It’s really up to you and your family’s needs. For me, I am thankful for having enjoyed my time with my older son and now I am able to give the same care and attention to my younger daughter. Both my children have a very special bond no matter how old they are or will be!
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Marketing assistant Steph, mum to Leo, 5 and Darcey, 2 writes about her experiences:

Is there a large or small age gap between your children?
There’s three years and three months between my two so I would say that’s quite average. I sometimes wonder if they were closer in age would they get on better but when I speak with my friends who have siblings closer in age they say they argue too so I doubt it would make much difference. If Darcey has been a boy I guess it could have made a diffrence, maybe they might have had more in common when it came to the type of toys they play with: cars, footballs boys’ toys !

Was this deliberate?
I always wanted more than one child so we knew we would like to have had another baby at some point. When it came down to it I think we just decided to have another child because Leo was at an age where he was more independent and could do most things for himself. I had an older brother growing up and as much as we used to argue it was nice to have someone with me and to play with.

Pros and cons of a 3 year age gap?
I think the hardest thing I found having a three year gap was you just don’t have as much time to spend with the second chid. Me and Leo had a lot more quality time together, whereas Darcey has to just fit around what I have to do on a day-to-day basis. Things like taking Leo to school and clubs means that I am more busy with everything so she has to fit around a timetable of things to do. This I also find particuarly hard when Darcey is having a meltdown as we don’t have time to wait around. Thinking about it, I suppose you could say that Darcey has to be a bit more independent form time to time so maybe that’s why she’s a bit more reluctant to share; either that or it’s just the way she is but I guess I’ll never know!

Retail marketing assistant Victoria, mum to Olly, 7 and Lucy, 5 writes about her experiences:

Is there a large or small age gap between your children?
There is a small age gap between my 2 children of 18 months

Was this deliberate?
Yes

The pros of having a small age gap

  • They are good friends
  • They play with each other
  • They love each other to bits and stick up for each other
  • There wasn’t any jealousy when the new baby was born
  • Apart from the early days, they have the same routine which makes getting out and about easier – eg. we can now all go out for lunch without worrying about nap times etc.
  • They are now at the same school so I just have to do one drop-off and pick-up
  • Now that they are both at school I can work

The cons of having a small age gap

  • I’ve never known tiredness like it!
  • I always worried about making sure I paid equal attention to both children
  • The cost of having 2 children in nursery was so expensive it really wasn’t worth me going back to work after I had my second child

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