What do parents say?
Ola: "If he decides to have a second child, he wants to have them after five years. I dream of three: 5,10, 15. Why? Because I like to have time and peace. I can't imagine running between two tiny children. The greater distance suits me better. "
Natalia: "I was raised with two brothers. There is a year or two years between us. I consider this arrangement to be the best. Today, when we are adults, we have perfect contact with each other. That's because we spent so much time and knew all our secrets when we were little. "
Ala: "I have a three year older sister. Seemingly not a big distance, and I always felt so silly with her. I wanted to draw attention to myself, stand out with something. I will want to have children myself year after year. Once they will enter the diapers and grow out with them. That suits me better. "
Small age gap (up to three years)
Studies show that children who grew up in a small amount of time (a maximum of three years difference) are most often in adult life more intense. Even if as toddlers they often differed in their opinions, and as teenagers they often quarreled, as adults they are closer to each other than statistically siblings of significantly different age.
You can explain it simply: we are most attached to people with whom we spend a lot of time, whether in a nice or more conflicting atmosphere. We feel safer with people with whom we had the opportunity to experience more important moments for us.
Children, between which there is a small age gap they learn to collaborate in a group the fastest: by communicating your own needs, resolving conflicts and dealing with problems.
A smaller age gap between children gives also greater potential opportunities to have fun together, spend time, allows you to attend school together and help yourself there in case of problems. Children learn how to share their parents' attention and material goods.
On the other hand, a short interval between the births of at least two children results overlapping needs of two kids. This can be seen very clearly at night, when parents are often forced to help the two at once. This relationship can also be seen during meals. Parents may feel frustrated by the feeling that they will not "tear up." On the other hand, toddlers like this learn to wait and understand the needs of the other person. However, the younger they are, the harder it is. It takes months for the family to get a sense of harmony.
Before the children are about five years old, they are particularly focused on attracting each other, each of them perfects in calling attention of mom and dad to achieve their goal. Of course, this is not evidence of malice, but rather a "remnant" of distant times, when children could ensure their survival by learning to effectively catch the larger and stronger eyesight.
Siblings, especially those close to age, are naturally competitive. On the other hand, however, it is more often observed in the case of siblings of the same sex than of the opposite.
And what speaks for having children in a short time interval from the parents' perspective? Most often there is an opinion that "We are raising, and there will be peace". In the minds of many it is easier to decide on a second child, when you have sleepless nights in your memory, you are used to changing and constant attention directed at children. Later, when you regain balance, you have a night's sleep again, it is more difficult, and the decision on the next child is postponed continuously for the following years.
The slight difference in age is also argued by the fact that women taking a holiday at work while raising children can devote several years to raising children and send them to kindergarten in exchange of extending the experience of illness and taking sick leave for many years - which brings up bringing up children in large time intervals.
In a way it's true, but on the other hand raising two or a larger group of young children when most of the duties fall on the woman is frustrating and time consuming. A woman may feel exhausted, and the whole family may live under stress and dissatisfaction that no requirements of individual family members are fully met.
Large age gap (over four years)
A large age gap has the advantage that most of the children's needs are easier to meet separately. There is no need for conflicts of interest. On the other hand, this "advantage" can also be a disadvantage. We may have a problem in terms of how to spend time in such a way that it is attractive to older and younger siblings. However, here too, the principle that much depends on what approach parents have in raising children in a given age interval. One pair may consider the same feature an advantage, another a disadvantage.
Psychologists also note the differences in relationships between children in the event of a larger age difference (over four years). In this case, most often one of the children, even in adulthood, plays the role of a guardian, and the other one who is "looked after". An older child gets the feeling that someone is needed, and a younger child needs the necessary support and safety.
The greater age gap is identified by some as education two only children. Especially if the children are of different sexes. There is a lot of truth to this claim. In this arrangement, when there are four or five years of difference between children, it can already be seen that they spend time in a different way and less share toys and other goods than it is for younger children. On the other hand, they can get a lot of attention from the early stages of life, which makes raising such children calmer and less frustrating for parents. Children who receive a lot of attention and grow up with brothers and sisters of significantly different age, which is confirmed by research, they learn to speak faster, they feel good among adults and "smarter" people. On the other hand, they are less socially adapted, because they had less opportunities for permanent and systematic contact with peers, which are difficult to replace with arranged meetings.
In addition, if there is a larger age gap between children, then theoretically it is easier to explain to an older man that a younger child requires more attention from his parents. When a toddler turns five he already knows that what is happening in his environment does not have to be caused by his behavior (up to this age children tend to blame themselves for all unfavorable situations). In this case, the toddler will no longer think that the next child is a punishment for being rude and it will be easier for him to explain changes in the family. It's also simpler, because a few-year-old already has his own environment: kindergarten, friends and colleagues, hence he is able to take care of himself longer, he no longer needs to organize his time. Unfortunately, this advantage prevails only to a certain, hardly perceptible moment. The greater the age difference, the more the child is used to his only child position and to get all the attention from his parents and it is more difficult for him to adapt to the new lifestyle and to temporarily move to the background.
Remember: It is up to you what age gap is best for your family between children. Each system has pros and cons. It is your attitude that makes one of them more favorable and the other less desirable. You have to decide what is most important to you!
And you think what difference between children is the best? Let's discuss!