Big brother has trouble sleeping

February 28, 1999|By T. Berry Brazelton,M.D. | T. Berry Brazelton,M.D.,new york times special features

Q. My grandson is 2 1/2 years old and extremely bright, but he cannot get to sleep by himself. He sleeps in a futon bed and needs his mother's presence in his bed to fall asleep at night. He seems to have fixated on this security instead of the usual stuffed animal or blanket. At nap time, his mother has been driving him around until he falls asleep.

My daughter needs to know how to turn this around. Would getting him a youth bed -- big enough only for him -- work? The problem is compounded now because of the arrival of a little brother.

A. I wouldn't change his bed until he has adapted to the new stress -- his brother. Your idea of a substitute for his mother (a stuffed animal, truck or other "lovey" that he chooses himself) could help a lot. But his mother needs to deal with her own feelings about separating from him, and that might be difficult for her right now with the new baby. I suggest going slowly. Your daughter and son both need your understanding.

Questions or comments should be addressed to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, care of The New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 122 E. 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10168. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

Pub Date: 02/28/99

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