Moms often have a dilemma: a promising career or a second child? Have the little ones year after year, get it over with and go back to work or take a break for a few years. Or maybe just have one child? We explain if there is an ideal age difference between children and when is the best time for a second child.


Having a second child is a big decision that parents don't always make consciously - many prefer to just rely on ... chance. However, if you are thinking about your own and your family's well-being and wondering when is the best time for a second pregnancy, below we try to advise you with the help of psychologists.


Second child: better one year apart or a few years apart?

Statistical studies show that the more difficult it is for parents to decide on a second child, the greater the age difference between the children. Families with 2-4 years of difference are more common. So it seems that, at least from the point of view of most parents, it is better to have a second child shortly after the first. Although the 6-8-year-old distance model is also quite popular; the older child becomes independent, and the mother can easily take care of the other baby.


When is the best time to have a second child?

The second child should appear when the family is ready for it. The financial situation, work and career, play a huge role. It is much more difficult to decide on a second or third child for a woman who has a stable professional position, an open path to promotions and good earnings. People employed in less exposed positions, especially in regions affected by unemployment, also think with anxiety about the second child.

"Parents, when deciding to have a second child, take into account not only the financial situation of the family, but also want to avoid or take advantage of something" - explains the psychologist Krystyna Zielinska. “If the age difference between children is small, then you can use the same clothes or equipment twice. If, on the other hand, the second child is born after six or seven years, you can count on greater peace of mind: one baby is already large and quite independent, he is also often willing to help in caring for the baby "- adds the psychologist.

Parents also reflect on the competition of their children, fearing, sometimes rightly, that a small difference will result in constant quarrels and disputes: about the toy, for the favors of mom and dad, even for clothes. On the other hand, they explain to themselves that children of similar age are able to organize their own time perfectly and have good contact with each other.


When to have a second child - what is best for children?

Psychologists say there is no perfect age difference. Each one has its pros and cons and it all really depends on the atmosphere in the family.

Little age difference

Practical reasons certainly speak for a small age difference between siblings, i.e. about 2-3 years. “The kids play together, they have common friends and topics for conversation. It is also a convenient age difference for many women who want to raise children quickly and take up professional work,” says psychologist Margaret Gaseck.

A problem with a small age difference may be the attitude of the older brother or sister to the baby who appears at home - it is still difficult for a two-year-old to explain that mother has to take care of another child, since she has only been taking care of him so far. However, it should be remembered that at this age a toddler quickly forgets that he was once an only child.

A big age difference

The age difference of six years or more guarantees greater comfort for parents - it is easier to explain to the older one the need for increased care of the baby, and also count on his help. From the children's point of view, however, this difference has its advantages and disadvantages.

"An older child may feel rejected and pushed to the background, which is very dangerous, especially when he is, for example, in adolescence and needs the support and help of his parents" - says Gaseck

However, you should be aware that with a large age difference, e.g. 15 years or more, there is a risk that children will not have any contact with each other. Although, as psychologists say, such contact may unexpectedly appear in adulthood. Specialists emphasize that the most important thing is not the age difference between siblings, but the emotional bond in the family - mutual love, kindness and a sense of responsibility.

From a psychological point of view, the third and subsequent children are more acceptable to other siblings. Children already know that they are not the only children, they have learned the charms and dark sides of having siblings. It is easier for them to accept a new family member. What about the parents? For a few months the world always revolves around the smallest treasure, no matter if it will be the first or fourth child in a row. And it is only up to the parents how the family will function as a whole. 

The second child after vaginal delivery and cesarean

When deciding on a second child, it is also worth considering the way the first was born. According to specialists, if the delivery was performed by caesarean section, a woman may become pregnant at least one year after the surgery. Some have even stricter recommendations: a second child can be conceived 18 months or even two years after cesarean. It takes so long for the caesarean section scar to heal completely and to prevent it from coming apart or rupturing.

A woman's body must also have time to fully regenerate after natural childbirth. It is safe to decide on the second child when the first one is one year old. However, it is worth remembering that the second pregnancy, the second childbirth, and then caring for two young children is a huge burden for the mother. The woman then needs enormous, wise support, forbearance and the opportunity to rest.


Written by Justyna Etenkowska

October 07, 2022 — Justyna Maslanka

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.