Sleep: Easing the crib-to-bed transition

My husband and I moved our two-year-old son to a new bed because we are expecting our second child soon. We have set the bed up like his crib because he loved his crib, but we still have to sit there until he falls asleep, which takes him longer than it did in his crib. Is this the wrong approach? I am fearful that we should not have done this!

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Gayle Peterson

Gayle Peterson, PhD, is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She is a clinical member of the Association... Read more

Your son is adapting to the new requirements you have set up for him at this time. You have initiated the move to a larger bed to make room for his new sibling.

It is likely that you feel the need to give your son a gentle push toward a "big boy" bed in order to organize yourselves for your new arrival. Although he may have benefited from staying in his familiar crib, which he loved, he is already adapting to the new bed you have arranged for him.

His trust in you is well placed and he is not suffering undue distress in this transition. In fact, you are accommodating him by setting his bed up to resemble his crib, and you are spending more time helping him adjust.

Do not second guess your decision at this point. Continue to sit with him longer as he adapts to his new situation. Add an extra bedtime story to his nightly ritual. The extra attention will stand him in good stead for accepting his new brother or sister when the time comes.

You have made a decision that you feel is in the best interests of your new baby, your son and yourselves. Sometimes, there are no perfect decisions. No doubt as the leaders in the family, you will often grapple with the effects of the decisions you make. This is your job, as parents.

Give yourselves a pat on the back for your willingness to lead and your son's trust in following your judgment. Your leadership and sensitivity will guide your decisions in years to come. Continue to assess the decisions you make and fine tune them. But do not undermine progress when it is already underway.

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