Family life

Expecting a baby when your older child is (much) older

What drives parents to not have the second child too quickly? The desire to slow down and take their time? Their accumulated fatigue?

Mylène, a mother of five children aged 25, 23, 16, 11 and 4, shared her thoughts on the good and bad sides of such a big age gap.

The Advantages

"The benefits lie mainly in the areas of mutual aid. The oldest help a lot, when they’re home anyway,"explains Mylène. "They can play with the youngest, feed them, and so on. We can often sleep on weekends and we have caretakers on hand, "she adds.

"Becoming a mother of a baby several years later, you get better and develop a new outlook on most situations. We have more maturity and experience and it becomes easy, "says Mylène.

The grown-ups also teach the little ones a lot, who arrive well prepared at school with a good bag of knowledge to have rubbed shoulders with the big ones.

The older siblings also teach the little ones a lot. Then they arrive at school well prepared and filled with knowledge from their older siblings. The big brother and sister feel valued for being role models to their little brother or sister, and conversely, the young ones feel protected by them.

"By having children over a longer period of time, the magic of childhood lasts longer. The older ones are the accomplices of Santa Claus at home," says Mylène.

The Disadvantages 

When traveling and on family outings, activities must be thought out for all age groups, which is sometimes a challenge. Otherwise, adults must separate. Mom leaves with the baby and younger children, and dad is with the older ones.

We must manage very different realities often at the same time. The love of one, the duties of the other, the viruses of the baby, etc. "It's quite cerebral," says Mylène.

We must be careful not to force the older ones to take too much on their shoulders just because we have a baby that we must take care of. The older ones are still children up to a point.

One must be careful what the youngest hears as a conversation or what he sees on television. A teenager's shows are not suitable for a young child, and older people sometimes forget that some things cannot happen in front of a toddler.

Whether you decide to have your children close together, life decides otherwise or you prefer to take all your time, each formula has its advantages and disadvantages. Each parent decides what suits them personally.

Image de Myreille Simard

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