How can I help my toddler adapt to a bed?

Q: We recently moved our toddler to a bed because we're expecting another baby, but now he comes into our room at night and cries when we bring him back to his own bed. What can I do?

A: While it may seem to make sense to move an older child out of the crib and into a big-boy bed when a new baby is on the way, perhaps it was a little too soon for your son. It's also possible that he's aware that things will be changing with your family's new arrival, and therefore he's extra anxious to stay close to Mom and Dad. All your little guy probably needs is some time to adjust to being in a big-boy bed. Try letting him sleep in his crib again for a short period of time (about a week), but put the new bed in his room all made up with some super-cool sheets that he's picked out. Chances are after sitting on it during the day to read or play it won't seem so scary and he'll want to sleep in it. Once he's in the bed again and the crib is gone, make his bedtime rituals last a bit longer -- read him an extra story or stay with him until he's really drowsy. Putting in this extra time up front may go a long way toward helping you get an uninterrupted night's sleep (you can always cut back the routine again once he's sleeping better). Of course with a new baby due soon, getting enough shut-eye is what really matters. So if all else fails and having you close by helps your son sleep easier, try putting his bed (or just his mattress) beside yours so that he can be with you but not on top of you. Once he gets accustomed to his big-boy bed (in about a week or two), you can transition him back to his own room.

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