You already have two perfect children and you swear that’s enough. Your youngest has just started school and you feel a little lost with what to do with your days and then you meet your sister’s newborn. As you pick him up and take in that new born smell, a broody feeling sweeps over you again.
Whilst the average UK family has 1.9 children (a number that is decreasing), 1.1 million households have three or more dependent children and with shows like ‘15 kids and counting’ being huge hits with the British public it poses the question: just how many kids is too many?
Although families all over the world are having less children our population as a whole is growing extremely rapidly and concerns have been raised as to when the world’s resources will expire. Overpopulation is already seen as a serious threat to the quality of human life by many scientists and biologists.
Is Having More Children More Expensive?
Bringing up children doesn’t just impact the environment but our pockets too. It was recently suggested by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that bringing up a child in the UK costs £150,000, however it has been suggested that these costs could be reduced with a second or third child.
If you have two or more children, costs such as heating don’t actually increase; in fact you will pay the same heating costs if you have one child or five. Also you don’t necessarily need to pay twice for items such as cots, prams, toys and clothing. They can often be passed on to the next child. It also costs the same to run a bath for one child as it does to run one for two. Electrical items such as mobile phones and computers can be handed down as older siblings begin earning or leave the family home, and items such as bikes can also be passed down at no additional cost to the family.
Money can be saved on group discount tickets for theme parks, cinema trips and swimming lessons, as well as on multi-buy discounts that couldn’t be consumed by a smaller family.
Other savings come in the form of playdates. Entertaining your child can be challenging and costly – however siblings can entertain each other, which is especially helpful during the six week summer holiday.
Better Health Along the Way
One of the most positive advantages of your child growing up with siblings rather than on their own is medical. Siblings share germs from a young age, bolstering their immune systems and protecting them against conditions such as eczema and hay fever. More recent research suggests that growing up with a sibling may reduce their chances of food allergies and some cancers. It has also been proven that children who grow up with siblings are on average 14% less obese than those who grow up in single child homes.
Having more than one child doesn’t exactly save any time in the beginning. Try feeding your new born whilst cooking and sorting the washing as your toddler hangs off of your leg nagging for a packet of crisps! Crossing a road with two children is easier than crossing the road with three (this is where the extra arms would come in handy). However as time passes older siblings can help with the younger ones.
There is no right answer and no one can determine just how many kids is too many. A ‘correct’ number of children doesn’t exist. It depends on our circumstances, what we want and our ability to love unconditionally.