Glenn Doman’s Thoughts on Child Birth Spacing for Early Teaching Families

Early Learning Homes & Child Birth Spacing: Thinking About Family Planning

My second-born and firstborn sons, at ages 5 days and six years


In his book on infant stimulation in the first year of life, Glenn Doman writes,

“An 18- to 30-month-old child wants fulltime attention from his mother. He not only wants her undivided attention, but he really needs it. He is not fully independent in anything except getting into trouble. We strongly recommend that the first baby be given the time and attention he needs to gain independence. Usually between the ages of three and four he is able to take care of himself – and what is equally important, help mother. It is very important for the first child to be able to contribute to the new baby from the start. If older brother or sister is simply too immature to be helpful, he or she will compete with the baby for time and attention.”

For an early teaching family, I can say I certainly agree with Doman in this aspect. I really love the concept of keeping my baby the baby for as long as possible.

  • I want to be able to give each child the gift of focused attention (teaching, stimulation, and talking together) when they are young, in the most important brain development years of their life (ages 0-3).
  • It is extremely practical to only have one extremely needy child (aka: baby) at a time when you are in the position of being a teacher for your little ones. It is much easier to manage the demands of planning learning activities, housework, and childcare when there is only one small child at a time, and the other child or children are able to help out and be independent.

As a bonus, I love being able to extend my childbearing years by spacing them out a tad bit further than “normal”. I love getting to start over with each baby.

I also love the relationship that my two boys have. Because there was a large gap between them (six years and two months), the oldest is so protective, caring, helpful, and kind with his baby brother. They adore each other so much, and miss each other terribly when one is away. They play together constantly. It is so beautiful to watch, and I enjoy not having to deal with sibling rivalry.

We plan on having a third child somewhere around three or four years after the second child (which is actually coming up soon – if we are to have an exactly three-year age gap I would have to become pregnant within the next three months!)

 

 

What do you think about revolving your family planning around your early learning practices and beliefs? I know that for some people, larger spacing wasn’t an option, and for some people closer spacing is simply a preference. I would love to hear what works out for your family.

Hunter is currently 8 years, 3 months old
Damien is currently 2 years, 0 months



3 Comments

  • Tulip June 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I like to go with the flow and take them as they come to me. I find that a two year old can learn a lot from having a new baby in the house. It seems to encourage independence and maturity even earlier. And maybe a younger child is better at adjusting to change because they haven’t had as many experiences or gotten into as many habits as an older child? A new born usually sleeps a lot and allows time to fit learning and housework ect. in. When I include the younger siblings in the care of the new baby, I rarely see competition arise. If it does, good discipline and a thorough explanation usually does the trick. It is a lot of work, no doubt. But the lessons learned by my other children far outweigh the inconveniences. I understand my way is not a good fit for everyone. I just don’t see early learning experiences for siblings as a huge factor in deciding to have another child or not. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth (DomanMom) June 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      I agree, a two-year-old would definitely learn a lot of responsibility and other valuable lessons from having a newborn sibling. I know that in some families, a 1- or 2-year age gap works out very well, even with early learning.

      It is a personal preference for me to have a larger gap, but I love to hear how it works out for other families, as it is such a common scenario (either parents have a preference for smaller gaps, a religious objection to family planning in general, or sometimes they don’t even learn about early learning until their children are older / already born).

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • Hannah VW June 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Mine are 2 years and 4 months apart. There would have to be some type of rare situation for me to consider trying to have kids much closer than that. I can’t say I thought about it exactly like you did, but I did want to give my first time to “be the baby”. He nursed for as long as he wanted (a few months past my goal of two years), and we didn’t have to rush him to potty train “quick before the 2nd one is born” or try to get him out of the crib just because baby was coming (we had to get him out of the crib because he was climbing out though!). He was able to help very minimally when his brother was born: fetching blankets or a bottle of water for me…Now that he is nearly 4 he is incredibly more independent (dressing himself, can be trusted outside alone for short periods) and helpful.

    I think it’s cool that your kids have a close relationship and like to play together. I think that my stereotype of larger gaps is that they aren’t as “close”, when in reality it is probably just a different type of relationship.

    In American culture, breastfeeding’s effect on fertility really varies depending on many factors, but in some cultures the mothers’ nursing patterns delay the return of fertility for well over a year, spacing kids around 3 years apart. I think this is interesting as it gives a physical break for the mom between pregnancies and also gives many of the advantages you listed above.

    Thanks for this interesting (and sensitive) take on the subject!

    Reply

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