Handling multiple transitions with kids

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  May 19, 2010 06:00 AM

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Barbara,
My husband and I are planning to have a third child. Assuming I conceive quickly (as with my prior two pregnancies), #3 would arrive when our daughter is almost four and our son is two years old. Our son and daughter would need to share a room initially, as the infant would have his/her own room (our long-term plan is to renovate an existing space into a bedroom so all would have their own space within the next few years). Do you have any suggestions on how to best handle the transition -  of the addition of a third child as well as having our kids share a bedroom? Also, our son would need to come out of his crib at that time (another transition). I'd welcome your perspective on this. Thanks!

From: KK, Melrose

Hi KK,

It's always best to make the transition from crib to bed far enough in advance of the baby's birth so that the child being moved (as well as an older sibling!) can't "blame" the move on the baby. The same advice would apply for moving the two siblings in together: Do it far enough in advance that they won't think it happened to ''make room'' for the baby.

Moving siblings into the same room presents challenges with individual bedtime routines as well as with when those bedtimes are; there's enough of an age difference that I assume they don't/won't go to bed at the same time. Also, don't forget to factor in that, in the beginning at least, this could be party time for them. That can often be a positive, if they have fun together, but it can also mean that they don't stay in bed or that one keeps the other one up. Whatever you do, keep the two events separate!

Sometimes, thinking this through ahead of time will only make you crazy because you can't anticipate exactly how it will play out. Know there will be challenges and then go for it. But keep this in mind: If you do this when you are pregnant and potentially exhausted yourself, it may be even more of a challenge!

As for the addition of another child, whether you're going from one to two or two to three, it's always best to talk with children about what will stay the same as opposed to what will be different. It's also best to remind them that babies aren't so much fun in the beginning, all they do is eat and sleep and poop and cry. Your older child, of course, will have a reference point ("Remember, when X was born, all he did was....And now, as he's getting bigger, you two have so much fun playing in the sand box together....").

Readers, what experiences can you share?

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2 comments so far...
  1. I just have to say, kids usually do fine with all this as long as the parents don't get all anxious and upset themselves.

    I can pretty much guarantee that your 2 year old won't remember this and your 4 year old won't remember much.

    Posted by ash May 20, 10 12:42 PM
  1. We are in the same boat. We moved our son (3yrs) into his sisters bedroom (2yrs) probably 7 months prior to our due date for #3 (due July 2010) in order to remove any association with the baby's arrival and the him losing his room. That was months ago and they absolutely love rooming together. After a year or so we'll move #3 (girl) into the "girls room" and my son will get his old room back . They even call the empty room "the baby's room". I would say make the switch early rather than late so you can work through any anxiety your kids might have. It'll be fine and I agree with the above comment, they won't even remember all of this in a year or 2

    Posted by Boston Dad June 9, 10 02:40 PM
 
2 comments so far...
  1. I just have to say, kids usually do fine with all this as long as the parents don't get all anxious and upset themselves.

    I can pretty much guarantee that your 2 year old won't remember this and your 4 year old won't remember much.

    Posted by ash May 20, 10 12:42 PM
  1. We are in the same boat. We moved our son (3yrs) into his sisters bedroom (2yrs) probably 7 months prior to our due date for #3 (due July 2010) in order to remove any association with the baby's arrival and the him losing his room. That was months ago and they absolutely love rooming together. After a year or so we'll move #3 (girl) into the "girls room" and my son will get his old room back . They even call the empty room "the baby's room". I would say make the switch early rather than late so you can work through any anxiety your kids might have. It'll be fine and I agree with the above comment, they won't even remember all of this in a year or 2

    Posted by Boston Dad June 9, 10 02:40 PM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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