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It has long been argued to decide what could be the ideal age difference between siblings. And there has been numerous vouching in favor of small gap while others are contented with longer gaps as well. So the quest to find an answer to this pertinent question is still on.
Though it is a historical fact that our hunting and gathering ancestors too maintained the believed in ideal age difference of 2-3 years, between the siblings. Since, the mothers’ breast fed their babies over 2-3 years, restricting ovulation during this gap. This practice in turn helped the mother to recover from the previous birth’s hardships. At the same time the child got adequate attention and care of the parents.
Though this practice of maintaining two years gap has been observed in modern times as well but there are other factors determining the gap between two children.
Firstly, let’s have a look at some of the in evident factors that determine the age gap between the siblings.
Age and health of the mother or parents:
Young mother in her 20’s can plan a child accordingly. But parents who are above 35, and had their first child late and still want to have another child prefer shorter gap.
Child’s age and expectation for a company:
Most of the parents today decide on having second baby when first kid is ready for a sibling. Every kid needs a company of similar age group to play with, to chat and also to fight. This urge is evident after 2 years and this encourages parents to opt for a sibling.
Fertility problems are growing among youth in modern times. As the stress levels and busy life has become norm of the day, people postpone child birth and many times turn in fertile. Fearing this problem, many like to retain smaller gap between children.
Prospects for harmonious family relation:
Sibling rivalry is not so uncommon. Study says children who have age gap between 18 months and 96 months are most likely to develop jealousy. So it is better to have the second baby before your first child turns 18 months. Or plan to have after 4 years when first one is sensible enough to enjoy the company of sibling.
Financial status of the family Professional ambitions of the mother:
Parents decide on family extension; keeping in mind their financial status. Every parent want to give their best to the child and why not?
Another factor that propels mothers to have a smaller gap between children that they can go back to their professional life once they are through with their initial maternal responsibility. Modern mothers don’t prefer to have longer gaps of over five years between their children because they are not ready to go over the nappy changing phase after long gap.
Many parents decide on the second kid considering their first child’s gender. Parents with son would like to have a daughter or one with a daughter would like a son.
Now, it is almost clear that there are many factors determining the gap between siblings. There are certain advantages and disadvantages of making choice between short and long gaps.
Medical studies have revealed that if the mother gets pregnant within 6 months after the delivery of her first child, there are following risks associated to it.
· A risk of premature delivery increases up to 40%.
· There is chance of losing the baby up to 26%
· Nearly 61% of the babies born in this gap have low birth weight
· These risks reduce as the gap progresses from 18-59 months
· It is obvious that closer the gap between two children, harder it is for mother to handle too
Another opinion says,
Children who have gap of less than one year never develop sibling rivalry
Siblings have better understanding and harmony with each other
After initial age hassles, parents find it easier to manage them
Big gap (More than 5 years)
· If age of the mother is over 35, she might have to undergo many a health risks
· Children due to their sheer age difference may not be able to communicate and understand each other so well
· It is difficult on parents to undergo nappy changing routine when they are for long out of it
· First child has got adequate attention and care of parents
· Elder sibling takes the charge of care and guidance to small one
· Obviously, for parents who have fertility problem and could wait for the second child, it is a blessing
After considering these pluses and minuses on gap between siblings, it is apparent that a gap of 2-4 years ideal gap as our ancestors practiced. But it is also true that other factors can guide you otherwise. It also depends on personal and medical conveniences to decide the right gap between the siblings.
Alia Haley is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on health and lifestyle. Beside this she is a fitness freak and loves t workout to stay in shape. She frequently writes on topics related to fitness and exercise for her blog fitnessqn.