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Transition To Big Bed | Sweet Dreams | giggle Blogs

transition to big bed

October 28, 2010

sibling preparation + sleep

I recently facilitated a webinar on sibling preparation and fielded many questions about sleep. Contrary to what you might think, most questions were about the big sibling’s sleep, not the newborn!

The birth or adoption of another child definitely brings about many big transitions and adjustments for families.  At the heart of many of those changes is sleep.  And while parents often worry about keeping up with a newborn and a toddler/preschooler while they are getting such little sleep themselves — the biggest worry is the disruption to their oldest child(ren)’s sleep habits.

Here are a few helpful guidelines for dealing with this new, big change.

1. If your older child is a toddler under three-years-old, keep him or her in their crib. A crib is a safe, predictable, comforting place for your child.  Moving to a bed will bring about unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty at a time when there is plenty of change to go around.  This may mean needing to purchase or borrow another crib for your baby.

2. If your older child is nearly three-years old or simply too big for a crib, then I recommend moving your child to a big bed either well in advance of the birth of the baby (say three months or so) or waiting until a few months after the birth of the baby. Ideally the latter as many children show signs of regression when a baby enters the scene.  Staying in a crib allows them to regress and be more baby-like at night with all their familiar comforts and security, while having to adjust to this new role as “big” brother or sister during the day.  After a few months of having the baby at home, things will settle down and become more routine and that transition will be easier for everyone.

3. If your older child starts to awaken frequently at night, have your spouse/partner sleep in the room with your child (separate bed) for a week while s/he makes the transition. The reassurance that will come from having someone in the room can make a huge difference and will often mean that your older child is able to continue sleeping well at night.