Although the four and a half years between my kids was not what I planned, today I’m feeling pretty good about that spacing. A new study suggests that two or more years between siblings is optimal, resulting in higher scores in reading and math tests later on. The study, due to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Human Resources, also suggests that an even bigger gap is beneficial for older siblings (although there seems to be no effect on the younger brother or sister).
Plus: The Pros and Cons of Sibling Spacing
"There's a lot of conventional wisdom out there about what is best, but there's not a lot of actual evidence about what is good for either parents or children," says Kasey Buckles, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame and author of the study. "This is a first piece of evidence that suggests a benefit to increasing the spacing between the siblings."
Plus: Dealing With Sibling Rivalry
Why do kids benefit from more spacing? Buckles believes that when you have two in diapers, it’s more about survival than enrichment. Also, the longer the eldest is an only child, the more attention they get from parents, which leads to better academic success.
What’s the spacing between your kids? Do you agree that 2+ years is best?