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The Benefits of Age Gaps Between Children

Timing age gaps between children

Families created through surrogacy are never accidents. It’s just one of the amazing benefits of the process. Surrogacy is a team effort. Experts help parents plan their futures, decide how many children they wish to have and how close together they want their children to be born. We have information about age gaps between children.

Age gaps between kids

One of the most common questions about planning a family concerns age gaps between children. Although there are many theories about the ideal spacing between children, there is no right answer.

With a traditional birth, there are studies that suggest the ideal age gap is 18 to 23 months between children. However, this is primarily due to health concerns for both mother and newly conceived child.

Mothers’ bodies need time to recuperate following labor and delivery. They need sufficient time to regain iron and calcium levels. If you plan to partner with the same surrogate mother for your second child, it’s important you plan a time frame that is in line with her expectations and health needs.

Financial considerations

Age gap is important to your family’s financial well-being. According to U.S. government estimates, raising a child from birth to age 17 will cost, on average, around $235,000 or more. European countries report similar amounts. Raising two babies who are both in diapers versus raising two children who are 4 years apart will require different budgets.

Before deciding on a second child, parents should consider these important points.

  • Expenses: A second child will add to daily living expenses, including housing, child care and/or education, medical needs and insurance, transportation, and miscellaneous things like clothing and toys.
  • Education: Parents planning to send their children to college will need to increase monthly contributions to the fund due to the rising cost of a college education.
  • Cost of the surrogacy: Careful financial planning is key to meeting the expenses of a second surrogacy. If you’ve been through the process, you know what to expect. However, if you haven’t, it’s important to have a grasp on the cost.

Closer and longer age gaps between children

Children who are closer in age can play together and have similar developmental capabilities. Additionally, experts say the adjustment of adding a new child to the family is less difficult for a child who is closer in age to their new brother or sister. It may be harder work in the beginning, but easier as both children move from one developmental stage to the next at relatively the same time.

Longer age gaps can be psychologically and developmentally beneficial as well. Caring for a younger brother or sister teaches valuable life and social skills. Younger children often look up to their older siblings as protectors. They learn accepted social behaviors by mimicking their elder sibling’s behavior. They can use it as a guide for learning new skills and exploring their surroundings.

Older children know the rules of the household and can teach younger siblings patience and sharing. Generally, there is less sibling rivalry and less jealously for siblings who have a greater age difference. However, as the children get older, it may be more difficult for them to remain close if there is a larger age gap.

Surrogacy allows you not only the freedom to plan ahead, but also to determine the age gap you think is best for your family dynamic.

Small gaps

An age gap of one to two years is a small age gap. Many parents believe that a two-year span between children is ideal, but it may not be right for all families. As the children grow older, it’s more likely they’ll remain close. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider.

  • Pros: Adding a second child who is one to two years younger than the first child means parents are already in “baby mode.” Jealousy is also usually less of an issue the closer children are in age. As they grow up, they’ll play together and share similar interests. A two-year-old has the ability to understand that he or she will have a new sibling. He or she will love helping in the preparation. It’s also easier to arrange for childcare when siblings are closer in age.
  • Cons: There is no question that raising two younger children who are close in age will be a handful. Providing equal nurturing can be a challenge, and life can be chaotic. There are more diapers to change, more feedings to prepare, and more gear to load up when you leave the house.

Larger gaps

When there is more than one child in the family, it’s important to get to know and recognize each one as an individual. Larger age gaps provide greater opportunities to learn about the personality traits of each child and to appreciate their strengths and talents. As parents, you may need to refresh your baby skills if it’s been more than a couple of years since you were immersed in baby duties. Plus, you’ll need to balance the needs of two children who are at different stages of development, but with equally important physical and psychological needs, while also maintaining a healthy balance for your own health and social well-being.

A three-to-five-year gap is ideal for those parents who wish to enjoy a second child’s baby and preschool years.

  • Pros: Most three-year-olds love taking on the role of big brother or sister, and they enjoy helping with the new addition, talking to, entertaining, and playing with the baby. The interaction is beneficial to them both, and teaches valuable interpersonal skills. Younger children learn by watching older siblings.
  • Cons: The wider the age gap, the higher probability that siblings will lose some of the closeness they enjoyed in their younger years, especially as the elder child moves into their teen years. Your children will be experiencing different developmental stages and varying interests.

The Center for Surrogate Parenting understands which details are required to plan for a healthy, stable family. It’s important for you to share your ideas with us during the planning stage as to your anticipated family size and your expected timeframes, including the age gap between your children.