We never intended to have a large age gap between our children. My husband and I started trying to get pregnant with our second baby when our firstborn was two years old. Due to secondary infertility and the death of our second baby, however, we ended up with five years between our two living boys.

As I watched those hard years tick by, along with our baby, I also grieved the loss of my idea of the perfect age gap. I was actually scared about what our children’s relationship would be like being so far apart in age.

Will they bond at all?

How will they play together?

Are they going to have any common interests?

How would my older son take to having a baby disrupt our well-established routine?

All of these things went through my head as I Googled, searched Pinterest, and read mommy blogs looking for some reassurance that my kids would act like normal loving siblings even with a larger age gap.

So here I am now to give you the assurance I needed and only learned from experience.

They are perfect together. This gap feels so natural as I’m sure any age gap would. They play together. They are obsessed with each other. They get into little sibling fights that feel normal to me. Sometimes I even see benefits to having this large of a gap between our two living children.

1. My older son is able to help

While I am careful not to make his brother feel like his responsibility, my older son loves to feel needed and enjoys a task he can see through to the end. If I need a diaper and wipes, he is quick to bring them for me. If I give his brother a snack on the floor, he is happy to supervise. When they play outside, my older son is like a mother hen, guiding his brother around. It feels like having an extra set of hands and eyes on my toddler at all times.

2. They need different things from me

Toddlers and children, especially school-aged children, need different parts of their mama. My toddler needs closeness and snuggles and to be breastfed to sleep. My older son needs me to play in the yard and do science experiments with him. It’s nice to feel like I am able to give them each a different part of my energy without feeling completely drained in one area.

3. My oldest is more self sufficient

Each time I change a diaper or wipe down a spaghetti-covered toddler, I am grateful that my firstborn is already old enough to manage a lot of things for himself. He can get himself dressed for school. He can get his own snacks from the pantry. He can even work the TV by himself. It feels like a relief not having to do everything for everyone in the house.

4. They need me at different times

We do try to keep our boys on a very similar schedule as far as meals, baths, and bed but the five-year age gap means they have different needs at different times. My younger son still takes a nap and that allows me one-on-one time with my older son. I am able to put my younger son to sleep while my oldest gets himself ready for bed and waits for me to tuck him in. Things tend to align just perfectly at their ages.

5. My oldest understands more

I imagine that if my oldest was closer to his brother’s age, it would have been harder to get him to understand how fragile and small a baby is. But because he was almost five with a full vocabulary, it was easy to explain to him how to act around his brother as a newborn and how to be gentle and delicate with him. Now that they are one and six, my oldest understand just how to treat his brother and play with him appropriately.

While this gap was not in the plan for us and I will always wish my middle son was here with his brothers, it is comforting to see that my boys can have a deep bond even with a bigger age gap.

So if you’re worried about the age gap and thinking your child is too old to adapt to a sibling, don’t worry, Mama. No matter what your family looks like, it will always feel natural and meant to be.

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