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Want Smart Kids? Keep Them Two Years Apart

Research suggests siblings born two or more years apart will do better.

Every parent wants the best for all their children.  But now researchers are suggesting that if parents space the birth of their children by two years or more they will find their kids do much better in school.

The researchers from the University of Notre Dame found that siblings born two or more years apart did better in school with higher reading and math scores than children born closer together.  The results were evident when the children got older, not when they were very young.

The researchers used a sample from a group of almost 13,000 youngsters ages 14 to 22.  The students were part of a larger group that had been studied since 1979.

The researchers said their study showed that “longer gaps improve test scores in older children, but have no effect on the scores of younger children.” 

The researchers say the results arise from the fact that older children get more of their parents’ time when the younger sibling is not born until a few years later.  The researchers don’t say that parents should automatically consider delaying births or in some other way try to manipulate births just to achieve the two-year-plus barrier.  Other factors go into how a child learns, grows and performs in school.  However, it is something to consider when parents start to decide how many children they may want and when.

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User Comments
  1. rgreenfield

    On November 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    interesting article

  2. dazzlejazz

    On November 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Too late to worry about it now!!
    I’m a twin so I guess I never stood a chance!!

  3. Karen Gross

    On November 22, 2011 at 2:57 am

    A lot of the parents of my children’s classmates apparently took this advice. My girls are 2 grades apart, and there are at least 4 other families who have kids in the same grades. It has been such a hoot to first have been pregnant at the same time, and then to be following each other around in parent/teacher interviews and class events. (This is a Christian school that is a ministry of our church, so a lot of the families have known each other since before our kids were born. Some of my kids’ classmates have attended church together since they were born.)

    I think that the conclusion of this research is true in general, and the logic behind the theory, that each child gets more parental attention is sound. I am glad to have been an exception myself. My mom was 18 when she had my sister and 19 when she had me, and I know that she felt overwhelmed by the experience – but my sister and I both did quite well in school.


    On November 22, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Sounds a promising diea

  5. Margaret Boseroy

    On November 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm


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