Planning to add a new member to your family? Research suggests that there might be an "ideal" age gap between siblings, and studies have highlighted some of the benefits of this.

Having another child comes with its own set of challenges, from sleepless nights to hormonal changes to breastfeeding. However, many parents find the rewards of raising children well worth the effort and do decide to expand their families.

Knowing when it's the right time to have another child isn't always easy. Aside from considering how your family dynamics will change, you might also be wondering about the impact having a sibling will have on the child you already have. And research has shown that sibling relationships can influence various aspects of a person's life, from childhood to adulthood.

According to a study, siblings who are more than two years apart tend to perform better academically, especially older children, particularly in math and reading. In another study, siblings with a smaller age gap (for instance, less than 21 months) may result in the younger sibling scoring lower on vocabulary, reading, and math assessments.

"One reason for this could be that when parents have children close together, they have less time to spend talking, interacting, and reading with each child, which could impact on academic outcomes," according to Dr. Michele McDowell, a child psychologist.

Based on a more recent 2022 study, it was suggested that the optimal time between pregnancies appears to be around 18 to 23 months. So, the "ideal" age gap between siblings, which can be beneficial for both children and parents, is likely to be about 20 months.


Picture: Ideal age gap between siblings (Getty Images)