You both know you want a large family, but where do you start? How do you go about planning for one? There is so much to consider and it extends to every area of your proposed parenthood. As you go along, it becomes very obvious that planning a family is not just about getting your financials in order and ensuring that you have a stable income for the quarter century and counting. No, it’s about making sure that you as parents are capable of the responsibility and accountability that will come into this world kicking and screaming, instantly demanding to be priority number 1.
That’s the real challenge right there. You don’t want just one, you want two or maybe even three. And if you’re really ambitious you want a family that could fill a 10-sleeper camper van. The first question most mothers ask is how long should they wait before introducing the next one?
There is actually no perfect age gap or rule to go by, but there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to every age gap, ranging from a very small to a very large gap. Varying age gaps have an effect on a child mentally, physically, emotionally and developmentally. Despite the age gap, though, there will be challenges that both you as parents and the existing child will have to face. Identifying and understanding the variables could help you decide what is best for your situation. Here are a few quick pointers that you should consider.
Having children closely spaced together
- They will grow close and develop a strong bond with each other. (This could make your job a little easier as they’ll be each other’s company.)
- You’ll get through the phases in patches.
- You’ll be able to hand down clothes, books, toys and other items without having to store them in your home for very long.
- When you’ve reached your number, you’ll be done. And all you have to concentrate on then is raising your children.
- It can be financially draining to have kids spaced closely. For example, they’ll start their education levels around the same time, leaving you little room to save.
- You won’t always be able to give your children individual attention and you’ll often have to adopt a “one-size-fits-all” method. Depending on your children’s individual character, they may actually benefit from this kind of system, but it may also have negative effects if your child needs extra emotional care.
Leaving a gap of at least 2 years and up
- You’ll have time to bond with your child. You can offer him the best of yourself and set him on his way to developing well with your guidance.
- An older child (from around five or so) is less dependent on you for everything and you can give your newborn your attention without affecting your existing child too badly. (See disadvantages for the flip-side to this.)
- You and your child may have set up such a strong bond in the meantime, that it might be difficult for your child to deal with the idea of having to share his space with someone else. Although he won’t mean to, jealousy can sometimes make him rather nasty toward a new baby – to begin with at least.
- You may be out of baby mode and all it entails by the time your first one is a little older. You’ve just moved on from the terrible two’s (thank goodness) and you never, ever (not even once) want to look back again.
Many women opt for a no planning route. In letting nature decide, it takes some of the pressure off of them to pick the age gap. Whatever you do decide, be sure that you can handle what may come your way and that it is in-step with your vision for your family.