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Add this to the list of reasons why you may want to give your kiddo a little time to grow before you try for baby #2 (or 3 or 4...). A new study from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex found that kids spaced further apart were more likely to achieve higher education goals than kids in families where they're closer in age to their siblings. (And of course, the overachieving first-borns were the most likely of all to have big ambitions and achieve them—especially if they're girls!)

The researchers posit that the reason for the difference could be related to the fact that siblings placed further apart allow parents to devote more time and resources to each kiddo during those key early years. Older siblings may be past the stick-your-finger-in-a-socket and diaper years by the time the new arrival appears—and they may even serve as helpers and role models, too.

Anecdotally, I've seen some evidence that they're on to something—close-set siblings I knew growing up seemed to have a harder time completing college than those spread further apart. And having recently come off those pay-for-daycare, watch-you-like-a-hawk-so-you-don't-stick-a-finger-in-the-electric-outlet years, I can't even imagine how hard it must be if you have two kiddos in diapers and daycare at the same time! My girls are about three years apart, and I think it's a good spacing—close enough to want to hang out together, but far enough that we didn't have too many years of overlap with preschool/daycare fees. And we'll likely only have one year of overlap in college tuition bills, so hopefully we'll be able to swing it!

Tell us: How are your kiddos spaced apart—and did you plan it that way? Do you think it's better to have your kiddos close together, or further apart?

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Image: Sisters by leungchopan/