What’s The Least Stressful Kid Combination?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many people have brothers or sisters, but did you ever wonder if you had the right number? Would there have been less fighting if you had one, instead of the other? In other words, what’s the right recipe for a happy family?

A new survey asked the question and although the answers are very interesting — even surprising — one expert said there’s an even more important ingredient for family happiness.

Spend some time at the Edinborough indoor playground in Edina and you’ll see plenty of kids. And plenty of parents — even grandparents — to ask about a British survey that tried to identify the least stressful combination of children.

“Well, I would think the least stressful would be opposite sex and two,” said a grandmother.

“I think boys are easier,” said a mother.

“I think girls together would be the least stressful,” said another.

And that’s what the survey says — two girls rank first for true bliss.

The survey looked at 12 different combinations of siblings and the two girl combination being less stressful surprised parent coach surprised Lori Jo Kemper.

“Just that they have bigger mood swings and whinier moments, in general. And they’re a little more high maintenance,” said Kemper.

More than 2,000 parents ranked their own families and their own happiness. The two girl families scored highest for things like “easy to reason with,” “helped around the house,” and “liked each other.”

“I would have lost money on that one,” said Kemper. “I would have said it would have been two boys.”

In fact, two boys ranked third on the list:

1. Two girls

2. One boy and one girl

3. Two boys

4. Three girls

5. Three boys

6. Four boys

7. Two girls and one boy

8. Two boys and one girl

9. Three boys and one girl

10. Three girls and one boy

11. Two boys and two girls

12. Four girls

One trend is very clear: Larger families put themselves on the stressful end of the spectrum.

“It’s all of those responsibilities,” said Kemper. “Getting them to and from, feeding them, it just exponentially becomes more on the parents’ plate, so there is more stress.”

Actually, all parents face their own sets of stresses and challenges, no matter how many children they have. Still, Kemper said the key to a low-stress family is low-stress parenting.

“If I had to isolate anything, it’s not gender, it’s anger that makes things more difficult,” she said.

And when it comes to kids, there are no magic potions.

“There isn’t a guarantee,” said Kemper. “But it’s more on being grateful for what you have and making the most of what you have at home. And I think most parents do.”

The study didn’t look at families with one child or more than four.  But Kemper is so intrigued by the findings, she’s thinking about polling her clients.

More from Amelia Santaniello
  • Esther

    how about 4 boys and 2 girls? I’d like to know how far down the list that one is…

  • Victim Du Jour

    The Dad with three sons from a previous Marraige and the Mom with three daughters from a previous Marraige. A house keeper and a cousin named Oliver.

    And the Oldest Daughter is really attractive.


    This has got to be one of the dumbest stories and surveys i have ever seen. Who the Heck cares what combination would be the happiest. They should be happy that there kids are healthy.Maybe if they asked a Parent with a kid that has cancer or down syndrome or some kind of disease, I am certain they would say a healthy kid and not worry about the sex of the kid. It’s up to the parents to make a happy and healthy home. This P/C and feel good Society is really getting old.. Just take life as it comes people..And not worry about could of should of would of…

    • Brandon

      Let me guess, you have four girls? You seem pretty unhappy.

    • just8

      Absolutely agree. Clueles article. Perhaps yuou can not have your afternoon tea with more than two kids. I’ve seen more stressed out families with two kids than more. Kids rely on the parents much less with larger families. Siblings provide beautiful support for one another..

    • susank

      To “Sick if P/C” – That would be “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve”….short for should have, could have, etc. And THEIR kids are over THERE…..
      We’re talking kids here, let’s teach them some good grammar.
      Otherwise I agree with you

      • Gloria

        Really?? You really feel such a strong desire to be so picky?? Really??
        Maybe you should have more kids….looks like you have too much spare time on your hands.

  • mom

    I think the story is kind of funny, I grew up with 5 older sisters and at the time would ask my mom almost daily if we could trade my sister right before me for a brother, now my sisters and I are very close. My dad tells people he is glad he had all girls because he never would have known what to do with a boy. I have 2 boys and 3 girls, our boys are 14 and 2, our girls are 10, 4, and 3 the 4 and 3 year old are the best of friends and worst of enemies, the boys are interesting to watch because our oldest son really likes to interact with his younger brother and our little guy looks up to his brother, he loves going to big brother’s baseball games. Our oldest daughter likes to “mother” all of her siblings even the oldest. It has been fun watching them grow and learn from one another and although it is very stressful and tough especially in today’s society, I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I think our family is the best combination, because it works for us.

    • SB

      Mom, great reply. I wish more mothers would think like you. We all need to complain once in awhile but too many parents do it none stop.

  • Citizen

    And for some families it would be ZERO kids! mom, great reply, and you sound like a great family.

  • Bill

    The survey is slightly interesting–but it doesn’t go far enough, in that it doesn’t include birth order or age difference. Is a boy-girl (in that order) family more or less happy than a girl-boy family? Is a girl-girl spaced by 5 years more or less happy than a girl-girl spaced by 13 months? Etc. If you’re going to bother to do a survey like this, do it more thoroughly!

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