Room For Another?

Britain used to be known as a place of 2.4 children – some of you may even remember the TV series bearing the number as its name – but according to data from Eurostat published last year, 9.5 per cent of babies born in the UK in 2013 had three or more older siblings. And, while some families are having more babies, the average 45-year-old woman in Britain has 1.9 children compared to 2.35 back in 1985. So, what is the perfect size for a family? Is there such a thing? Would you have one more child if you could or do you prefer to concentrate your parenting efforts on just one bundle of joy? Today’s post asks the question: Do you have space for one more? 

What’s the optimum number of kids?

There is of course no ‘right’ number of children to have and consideration factors will be different for all families. Some of us may feel limited by financial constraints or might simply prefer to have larger or smaller families. In recent years the government has considered and made a number of changes to policies concerning Child Benefit and tax credits, which may make an impact on many family’s decisions to have further children in the future.

Research conducted by insurers LV puts the total cost of raising a child from birth to age 21 at £231,843 in 2016. This shows that the cost of being a parent is continuing to rise and now amounts to a third of a household’s income on an annual basis. The biggest costs that are taking up the biggest proportion of parental spend are for things like childcare and a child’s education. However, there is a slightly lower cost associated with raising additional children - It is possible to pass on items such as toys, clothing and furniture and often to secure childcare for multiple children at a slightly reduced rate. But it’s not all about money…

Can you squeeze another in?

Even if you’d like to have another child and have no financial, time or biological restraints to hold you back, doing so is not always a ‘practical’ decision. ONS statistics show that while 16.1 million households in the UK have at least one spare bedroom, over one million homes are overcrowded. Moving home to accommodate new additions can be a lot of upheaval for existing family members and may mean considering a move further out of town, away from friends or family or outside of a preferred school catchment area in order to be able to afford a bigger abode. So, what choices do you have if you don’t want to move?

Well, it’s probably more common than you think for children to share rooms – kids do so in 67% of cultures around the world. In some instances this option isn’t feasible because of the layout of the home or the ages of your children. If it’s out of the question in your case, you could think about adding an extension, converting your loft or garage into an additional bedroom or doing something as simple as splitting an existing room into two. Rooms can be split or separated with a full or partial wall or with bi-fold doors to give children who are sharing rooms the feeling of having their own private space. Internal bi-fold doors like these at Vufold start at around £749, which means a well-considered and positioned partitioned wall could work out far cheaper than a substantial extension and could buy you a little more time until your personal circumstances mean a move is a more realistic possibility.

What does one more mean?

For many women, an additional child doesn’t just mean finding extra money in the household budget or freeing up space in cupboards and wardrobes, it also means doing things like putting careers on hold for a little longer and while shared paternity leave is now widely available, only one in one hundred couples are taking up the option. Would you be more likely to have an additional child if you and your partner shared parental leave?

What is your personal magic number for a happy family? Are you an only child who would love a sibling for your first born or are you too financially stretched to consider adding to your brood for a few more years? Perhaps you’d like to try for a new addition soon but are holding off until you can afford to move?

I would have loved another but it would have meant moving, getting a bigger car and more time on maternity leave we just could not afford. It took a long time to accept our family would remain a family of four!

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