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Make way for baby: Moving a toddler from crib to bed
Q: We’re expecting a second child in May and want to move our 19-month-old out of her cot now so she doesn’t feel displaced by the new baby. (She’s trying to climb out of the cot, anyway). We set up her big girl room with a new bed and put familiar toys in there but would like some advice on how best to make the change from cot to bed. Right now I’m a little afraid that the newness of the room is too exciting for her to relax enough to fall asleep. I’m presently only attempting naps in there, but she wakes in less than an hour. If she naps in her cot she’ll sleep between one and a half to two hours. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Sue Hamilton, NJ
A: I’m not sure why, but many parents seem to be in a rush to move children from a cot to a “big kid’s” bed. My response is, “What’s the hurry?” Parents have more control over their little ones while they’re in a cot. As you’re finding out, young children usually sleep better and are easier to control in a cot. Your daughter may be trying to crawl out of her cot, but she’s not succeeding. So here’s what I recommend:

  • Buy or borrow a cradle. This is much cozier than a cot for your new baby. Also, you can move the cradle around as you need to.

  • Leave your 19-month-old in the cot for now. Believe me, she will not feel badly that she’s not in her big girl bed because she will still want to be your baby after the newborn arrives.

  • About three to four months after the birth of your baby you can decide whether or not to move your daughter from the cot to a bed. When she’s able to crawl out, the time is definitely right.

  • These tips will certainly make your life easier; your older child will feel more secure and sleep longer. There are no benefits to rushing a child from a cot to a bed. I’m sure some parents will give you a different point of view, but this is my opinion, based on plenty of experience with little ones.