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From Crib to Bed: Easing the Transition

QUESTION: My husband and I moved our son to his new bed at 23-months-old 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!

ANSWER: 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.


Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. . She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.

Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.

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