Let me guess – you’re having one of those days with the kids? You know, the usual kind: Some overly-sweet moments of pleasure which are all undermined horribly by frequent bouts of sibling in-fighting, tantrums and general malaise.
You’ve seen the title of this article and thought to yourself “Yes! – Some answers, at last!”
Oh I am so sorry to say that while this post might give you a nice little break from it all; a moment to reflect, regroup and de-stress, it won’t give you the answers you may crave.
What it will do, is probably leave you agreeing with me, that basically, kids are often not as much fun as the idea of them seemed, pre-children.
There are so many rules to navigate and take-on and lessons to be learnt as a parent, yes?
Just when you think you’ve got it all sorted, those rules slide in a completely different and unforseen direction and then, back to square one it is. Only, that ‘square one’ has since morphed into another shape entirely and you’re left mediating the chaos anew, without your previously well-honed parenting skills:
Your rules, your ideas, your hope.
Yup, it all needs re-thinking.
Which brings me in a rather loose, (though deeply thought-provoking way), to age gaps and your offspring:
What is the perfect age gap between siblings? Is there a perfect age gap between kids? How do you deal with the issues of age gaps between kids? Are there even any issues to note when there are age gaps between kids?
So many of us grown-ups spend an insane amount of time plotting out the expansion of our families. Some of us plan our kids down to the exact month they should be conceived in an effort to maximise the absolute best time to produce siblings in order to increase the ‘bond’ we all presume they’ll have with one another.
Others just make their babies when they feel it’s time to ‘go again’ or simply discover that they’re already on the way without planning, (before they’ve even had a moment to think when did that happen?).
I’ve got to say, with my six, there’s been a bit of all of that in the mix as far as family planning went.
Did it help at all? Do the kids get along because of it?
I honestly really don’t know and in part, because I don’t know parenting any differently.
(I promised I didn’t have the answers remember?)
My main reason for having such a big brood, (apart from my crazy, broody over-drive from which I always seemed to suffer), was that in having lots of kids, they would in theory, run off together and play with one another…
and leave me more or less alone.
I’ve gotta say, that sort of worked and it sort of didn’t!
While my kids do run off together and play like one, big, (sometimes) happy group, I on the other hand, am left with so much work in their aftermath, that my alone time is certainly not in the least bit recognisable as any form of leisure time.
Kids being kids naturally like the company of other kids and we’ve had the experience of age gaps both large and small with our own. There’s always the inevitable fighting, but there’s also lots of laughter and happy times to be had together.In truth, I have to say, age gaps between kids of any size are all kinds of good really.
Do kids play together regardless of their age gaps? Absolutely. The games kids of multi-ages enjoy together with their siblings are creative, inventive and often touching.
I love to watch them all problem solve a play-house build for example: The big ones will design and the little ones will do the easier tasks of furnishing it with toys. There’s giggles all round and it’s such a pleasure to watch. Those are indeed warm, fuzzy, ‘I’ve done something great as a mum’ moments.
Other times, the bigger kids will play with a bored younger child to keep them entertained when prompted which is where my original plan comes in to play – there are always lots of babysitters!
So it seems, the bigger the age gap, the better they get along and the tighter the age gap, they’ll also have fun, (though maybe peppered with a few extra little tiffs due to age.)
My ultimate words of advice though, for keeping kids of all ages entertained, would be to keep a well-stocked toys and games cupboard and always stay one step ahead of the chance of bickering. When things are sliding on a downward slope, bring out a forgotten game from the stash and hope for the best. It usually always works.
Failing that, there’s always wine.
Jody is a mum of 6 young kids. She’s always asked “How do you do it?” “What is it like?” These questions blossomed into the blog it is today, and so much more. Follow Six Little Hearts for all things parenting, recipes for delicious treats and reviews of great products for babies, kids and beyond as well as places to visit with kids (or without!) in and around Melbourne.