Sibling Love: A Six Year Gap

I have three children. My oldest, Soul, recently turned 6; Paix, my second son, is 3; and I now have my first little girl, Jiyu, who is 4 months old. That makes the age gap between my first and last kid almost six years!

When we found out we were pregnant with Jiyu, I was excited to be a new mom again.  I also knew that we would have to start rethinking our lifestyle, schedules, and all of the new things we had just started doing again since we had had our first and second child.

We were on a strict schedule with our first son, he ate, slept, and played on a time clock. Now, with three kids, the third one has to roll with whatever happens with her siblings that may affect her own schedule. Of course, eating and sleeping are still planned out, but instead of checking the clock to make sure we are home in time, we first check on what’s happening with her siblings’ schedules.

Before I gave birth to my daughter, people definitely offered advice about having kids with a large age gap. One tip was to be sure to acknowledge the helpful things my oldest son does. This way, he could be a part of all the new baby duties. Friends with children with large age gaps often told me, “Oh, you’re going to need a babysitter now.” I’ve taken that advice and decided to use it within our little family. Although my 6-year-old son can’t be left alone with his baby sister, he certainly is capable of watching her when Mom needs to run to the restroom, and helps keep her entertained. Using the word "babysitter" seems to make my 6-year-old feel like a big guy, and he gets to spend some one-on-one time with our second child, too, which he absolutely loves.

In my opinion, having this age gap is wonderful -- the kids can really bond. My oldest is very aware of the baby and loves giving her so much of his attention. I think that knowing that he is a big brother who can help out with his sister contributes to his sense of compassion and responsibility. In just a few short months, I’ve also watched my 3-year-old son really step into the role of the "bigger" sibling.

Having kids with a large age gap is nice for me as a mom, too. Older children can be a huge help, and watching them meet a new sibling for the first time is priceless. When my oldest son first met his sister, he was so proud, and old enough to understand his new role a bit better.