Hey prospective parents: Want smarter kids? Have your children at least two years apart, new research suggests.
Research by Kasey Buckles, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, suggests that older kids turn out smarter when they're born at least 24 months before a younger sibling, Time magazine’s Healthland reports. They tend to notch better scores on math and reading tests than siblings with a smaller age gap, Buckles’ research indicates.
Buckles and her co-author Elizabeth Munnich came to their conclusions by studying data tied to nearly 3,000 women who became mothers to 5,000 pairs of siblings, Heartland says. The research is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of the "Journal of Human Resources."
So, why do big brothers and sisters with at least two years on a young sib' stand to gain an intelligence boost? It mainly boils down to the older child reaping the rewards of more one-on-one time with mom and dad, Healthland says.
"There are only so many hours in the day, and the longer that period can be when a child is the only child, the greater the investment they are going to receive," says Buckles, whose own children were born -– you guessed it -– two years, two months and two weeks apart.
Buckles’ two-year-minimum spacing suggestion aside, a greater age-gap in general might be a good thing for the older child, Heartland says the research suggests. Question is: Do the younger siblings also stand to gain added mental might? "It doesn't seem to help or harm them," Buckles says.