It’s an exciting time for little ones when they move from sleeping in a cot to a ‘big bed’ – it’s a sign they’re growing up and gaining a bit more independence.
Some children will be excited to be making this change, while others might be nervous or upset, so here are our tips to help you make the transition easy.
Photo: Dorset Cot Bed
You’ll know your child is too old for their cot when they start to show any attempt to climb out of it. For many children this is around the age of two, but remember each child is different.
If you’re moving your toddler to a ‘big bed’ because you’re having a new baby, try to make the change before the birth. That way they’ll know it’s because they’re growing up, and won’t feel they’re being pushed out by the new baby.
Once your child can get out of bed by themselves, it’s important to make sure their room is safe for them to be in alone. Check the sockets have covers, move anything that could fall on them, lock their window, and if they can walk out of the room put a gate across the stairs and a childlock on the bathroom cabinet and toilet.
Photo: Devon Cot Bed (Day Bed Mode)
If you have a cot bed that doesn’t have split end panels, you could start by taking just one side off (like a daybed), to make the change more gradual.
If you’re worried about your child rolling out of bed, try a toddler bed with side guards, invest in a small bedguard, or lay a pillow or blanket beside their bed to cushion a fall.
Ask your child to help you make decisions about their new bed – choosing the frame or shopping for a fun duvet cover. It’ll help them feel like they’re responsible and involved in the change.
Photo: Toulouse Cot Bed
You might find your little one has a few nights of disrupted sleep in their new bed, or takes longer to settle. Understand that this won’t last for long, and help them with lots of cuddles and encouragement.
Keep hold of the cot and don’t be afraid to go back. If your child doesn’t settle in their new bed after a week or two, there’s no harm in going back to their cot until they’re ready to try again. One night back in their cot might even be the thing that makes them realise they really do want a big bed.
Getting out of bed will be a novelty and you might find them popping out for a drink, a cuddle, and a dozen other little reasons. Patiently take them back to bed and tuck them back in, then give lots of praise when they spend a whole night in their own bed.
Expect to get a little emotional yourself. You’ll probably remember putting the cot together when you were pregnant, so it can feel like a real ‘they’re not a baby any more!’ moment when you take it down.
Photo: Country Toddler Bed