As China introduces three-child policy, could this be the magic number of kids?

·3-min read
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are one of many prominent couples with a trio of offspring. (Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are one of many prominent couples with a trio of offspring. (Getty Images)

It has been announced that China will allow couples to have up to three children, as part of a policy to reverse the country's decline in births. 

Currently the world's most populous nation has a two-child limit – with parents prohibited from having more offspring. 

In the UK, two-child families are still the most popular, (there are currently 2.34 million), but as of 2020 there were 768,000 couples with three or more kids, according to Statista.

One such couple is Prince William and Kate, who are parents to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Watch: China announces families can have three children

Read more: Myleene Klass admits being a step-mum can be challenging - try these parenting tips for blended families

Other high-profile parents who have opted for three children include Holly Willoughby and her husband Dan Baldwin, who share Belle, Chester and Harry.

Then there's Kourtney Kardashian who – along with former partner Scott Disick – is mother to Mason, Penelope and Reign.

Beyonce and Jay-Z have Blue Ivy, as well as twins Rumi and Sir; while Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are raising Inez, Betty and James.

Is three children actually the magic number when it comes to family dynamics?

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Parenting expert Tanith Carey, author of the book What’s My Child Thinking: Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents, believes that giving your child any number of siblings can be beneficial.

 "It teaches them essential life skills like compromise and negotiation, and provides the longest relationship any of us are likely to ever have," she says.

However, going from two to three children is no small matter, as Carey explains: "It’s a significant step up in terms of your time and resources – as a couple you are, quite literally, ‘outnumbered.’

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"So you need to be in a position where you can still give them individual attention. As such, your relationship with your partner will need to be strong as you will have much less time alone."

Carey also warns about logistical challenges, noting: "Transport becomes more difficult, and so does juggling childcare. Plus, holidays are usually designed around two parents and two children."

Having three children also means there has to be a 'middle' child - which can impact on that sibling's personality.

Carey explains: "They tend to feel less valued and can feel lost within the family – overshadowed by the eldest child, but displaced by the youngest."

Read more: Home again - why 'boomerang' households are the new normal

But Carey insists that it isn't how many children you have, that's the issue here - it's more about how you parent your brood.

Noting that managing sibling rows is already one of the biggest issues for parents, she says: "It will be more challenging to have three if you are not aware of favouritism or preferences for certain children, which will create even more sibling rivalry and rows, than if you have two.

"However, if you are able to treat all three children as individuals, the dynamics and relationships within your family will become more interesting – and your children will learn even more lessons about compromise and negotiation.

"You will have created a family that will feel more of a team, than the traditional two plus two unit. You will have created more of a support network for each of your children and also for yourself in later life. 

"So in that respect, when it works, three can be even more magical."

Watch: How the Royal Family tackles parenting