If you’re reading this, you’re most likely either pregnant with your 2nd child or considering becoming pregnant with your second child, and you’re wondering what to expect with the 2 year age gap.
The 2-year age gap is equally magical and chaotic. Or maybe it was just chaotic for me because we had twins when our first had just turned two.
Regardless, I have loved the age gap despite the hard work it entails. I thought it would be helpful for other moms if I outlined things to expect with the 2 year age gap.
I personally believe that having siblings 2 years apart is wonderful for so many reasons. A 2-year-old is old enough to be somewhat helpful but young enough that they will quickly forget life before the baby came along.
*This post originally appeared at Christinekeys.net
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2 Year Age Gap Between Siblings: What to Expect
1) 2-Year-Olds Can be Somewhat Independent
Somewhat, slightly independent.
While they can’t completely get dressed on their own and throw together a PB&J, they can play independently and follow simple tasks such as “throw the diaper in the garbage” and “go find your shoes.”
This is beneficial over a smaller age gap, as a younger toddler relies on you for everything! It was really nice to have Theo able to do small tasks for me.
Even simply asking him to grab his shoes and meet me by the door was a huge help!
Tip: Implement Independent Play Time to give your 2-year-old the skills to play independently.
2) Distraction Still Works for 2-Year-Olds
The terrible twos honestly aren’t so terrible. Yes, the tantrums can be intense, but two-year-olds are easily distractable. This ends for sure at three years old!
But at 2, their short term memory is still lacking enough that you can eliminate a tantrum by distracting them with an episode of Daniel Tiger, or their favorite snack.
This distractableness comes in incredibly handy when you have a hungry baby and have just promised your toddler you can paint. Trust me.
Curious about 3-year-olds? Read this post!
3) The Sibling Bond is Incredible
This is one that will come with time.
By 1.5 and 3.5, my children were having a blast playing together.
They are close enough in age that they are entertained by the same toys and have common interests.
Watching my children interact, bond, and love each other has been so far one of the biggest joys of motherhood for me.
I was expecting that since my second pregnancy was twin girls, that they would have a closer bond than Theo. This hasn’t been the case at all!
Theo, Josie, and Margo are thick as thieves. They play together constantly and the love and friendship between all 3 is the highlight of my entire life!!!
4) Their Schedules Can Line Up
I aligned our schedule so that my newborn twins took their afternoon nap at the same time as my 2-year-old.
It was an absolute lifesaver to have 3 children that all napped consistently! Now that they are 2.5 and 4.5, they still take an afternoon nap at the same time each day. My 4.5-year-old doesn’t fall asleep every day, but still at least has rest time.
As I’m in the process of somewhat considering (but probably not!) having another baby, a consideration is school drop off and pick up. This will NOT align with a nap schedule…. at all!
With the 2-year age gap, you don’t have to worry about that.
Save for Later –> Schedule for a 2 Year Old and Newborn
5) Your 2-Year Old Won’t Remember
A 2 year old doesn’t have the best memory. This means that after a few weeks they won’t even remember what it was like before the new baby came and interrupted their lives.
When we first brought our twins, Josie and Margo home from the hospital, our 2-year-old, Theo sat in the corner for the first few days.
He was definitely intimidated by the new arrivals. After a few days had passed, it was as if they had always been with us. To this day, when he sees a baby picture of himself he asks where his sisters are.
6) Pregnancy With a Toddler is Challenging
Theo was 18-months-old when we became pregnant for the second time (they were 2-months premature, hence still having the exact 2-year age gap).
Caring for a toddler while pregnant is so challenging. They are old enough to realize that you’re not acting like yourself but too young to be understanding or helpful. And, they require a lot of energy, which most pregnant mothers lack!
I strived to still get on the floor and play with Theo as much as possible, but MAN was it a challenge!
7) 2-Year-Olds Can Be Unreasonable
Have you ever tried negotiating with a 2-year old? They want things their way or it’s a giant flipping tantrum.
This can make things challenging when you need to tend to a hungry newborn. And guaranteed, your toddler will never have a fit at a convenient time.
It will always be when you’re in the middle of changing a poopy diaper or loading everyone into the car for an appointment you’re already running late for.
I’m speaking from experience here.
As I mentioned above, distraction is your best friend with a 2-year-old, but it doesn’t always work.
I remember one very fun day when I took Theo and his newborn sisters to the park. The girls were angels and were perfectly happy in their strollers the entire afternoon.
Theo, however, did NOT want to leave. There was nothing I could distract him with. When I told him it was time to go, he RAN AWAY FROM ME
Like, there was a huge track and he started running towards it. I had to run after him, pushing our double stroller. When I got to him I had to scoop him up and carry him, flailing and screaming, along with our double stroller back to the van.
Yes. Two-year-olds can certainly be unreasonable.
8) Sibling Fights
Remember how above I said that they will be best friends and have common interests?
This also results in a fighting match over who had Thomas the Train first.
Buying two of everything won’t change anything, they will still fight over the same one.
9) Your Body Hasn’t Quite Recovered
If you have a two year age gap, this means you only spent approximately 15 months not being pregnant.
Many moms breastfeed up until 12 or 15 months… so it’s quite possible that you don’t get your body back to yourself at all.
I mean, I would sacrifice my body again in a heartbeat for my sweet babies, but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. I wouldn’t complain at all if I could get my precious babies without having to sacrifice my body!
The two-year-age gap is really full of so many joys as well as difficulties, just as all of motherhood is.
Whatever age gap you end up with will be an adjustment… but watching and cultivating the sibling bond is amazing!
10) You Are Still in the Baby Phase
Once you leave the baby stage, it’s pretty difficult to go back.
I say this as my older child is now 5 and my twins are 3.
If we were to have another baby, it would intrude on our freedom. We are at the point where skipping nap for a day is doable. The girls are also potty trained and we are down to diapers at nighttime only.
We’re done with baby food and allllll of the gear that babies require. If you have a large age gap, you have to go back to the baby phase once you’ve experienced a little bit of freedom.
I love love love the 2 year age gap and wouldn’t change it for the world!
Although it’s challenging, it’s manageable and my children have an incredibly close bond!
If you’re concerned that it will be too chaotic, trust me. You can do it and you will love it!