toddlers, moving from a cot to a bed, cot to bed transition

When the time comes for your toddler to move to a bed it can be a stressful time for everyone involved. Your child may feel as though he is being taken away from the security and safety of his cot so you need to ensure that you do everything you can to make it a smooth transition

There is no specific age of when a child should be moved from the cot to a bed, but generally it happens between the ages of 1-3.  It should be when you feel it’s best for you and your child.  When the time does come, consider these tips for making your life a little bit easier.

  • Choose the timing for the move carefully.  If you’re moving your child because there is a new baby coming then be sure to do it before the baby arrives.  This will give everyone time to adjust to their new sleeping arrangements before a new baby is thrown into the mix.  Also, if you move the child after the baby is born it could leave your toddler feeling as though they’ve been pushed out of the cot, leaving feelings of resentment.  Or if you child is sick, consider putting off the move until they are feeling better.
  • Let your toddler choose the bed.  If you are buying a new bed for your toddler make sure that you include them in the process.  Buying new linen is a great way to get them excited about the move as well as letting them help to set up the new bed.
  • Read a book about moving to a big bed to your toddler.  Picture books can sometimes help children to understand a situation much better than if we were trying to explain it to them ourselves.
  • Ensure that your house is free from hazards now that your toddler won’t be restrained at sleep times and they will be free to climb out whenever they choose. Consider putting locks on windows and tying up curtain or blind cords so they aren’t left hanging around as a strangulation hazard.  If you have stairs in your house then a baby gate could be a cheap investment for the safety of your child.
  • Move slowly. If your toddler is wary about sleeping in a new bed, try a gradual move by having them sleep in it for the day time sleeps first.
  • Make them feel secure.  A child who has been sleeping in a cot is obviously used to having rails and walls to stop him from falling out of bed.  Consider buying a secure bed rail and explain to your toddler that it will prevent him from falling out.
  • Surround your child with familiar toys and comforters that they previously had in their cot.  This should make them feel more comfortable and at ease.
  • Don’t deviate from your normal bedtime routine – keep it the same as it was when they were sleeping in the cot.
  • Give them plenty of praise and try to be patient.  There will undoubtedly be times when your toddler gets out of bed and perhaps tries to sleep with you, but be consistent and put them back into their own bed.

Like most parenting topics the key to success is patience, so ensure you have plenty of it! 

Image via newportcottages.com