Tips on Moving Your Toddler from a Cot to a Big Bed
There are no set rules on when you should start moving your toddler from a cot to a big bed, but a general rule of thumb is that when they start climbing and trying to escape from their cot, then they are ready to move.
Making the transition to a bed can often be difficult for young children, as cots make them feel safe and secure, and beds can seem somewhat daunting and scary, especially as they aren’t familiar with them.
Here are some tips on moving your toddler from their cot into a big bed as smoothly as possible:
Make it Fun
It is important to make the move into a big bed as fun as possible, to show your toddler that there is nothing to worry about. Let them choose some new big bed bedding, as this will help them feel excited about the move and know they have had some input.
When guests come over, suggest that your toddler takes them to see their new big bed, as making a big deal about it will help your toddler to feel proud of their new bed. Let them keep lots of their favourite toys and familiar belongings in the bed with them too, so they feel secure.
Take Your Time
It is unlikely that your toddler will take to their new bed overnight, so you may have to be prepared to stay with them for the first few nights while they fall asleep, as this will be very reassuring to them.
It is important to be patient, so don’t be surprised if ten minutes after putting them to bed they get out and come looking for you. Just calmly guide them back to their room and give them lots of cuddles until they go back to sleep in their new bed. This process could need repeating for quite a while, but it will pay off.
Keep Your Routine
Just because your toddler has a new big bed to sleep in, it doesn’t mean that their routine should change in any way. Make sure the bed is in the same place as the cot was, so that their room doesn’t look any different and is still the familiar safe place they are used to.
Keep their bedtime the same and stick to the same pre-sleep routine you always use, whether that includes a bath, reading or just some night-time cuddles. If you change up their routine, then it is likely to make them feel even more unsettled while making the transition.
Be Prepared For Falls
Toddlers get used to the fact that they can roll about in a cot and come to no harm, so they are not going to be used to the open sides of the bed. Try and place the bed against the wall, so one side is automatically blocked off, then use a safety feature for the other side.
You can buy guards that can be attached to the side of a bed; these will help keep your toddler stay in their bed however much they roll around. If you don’t have a guard, then at the very least put the mattress from their cot or some pillows on the floor by their bed in case they do fall out.
Keep Interaction to a Minimum
You will have to be patient during this process, and the chances are that you will find yourself leading your toddler back into their new bed quite regularly. It is important that you keep interaction to a minimum though so they don’t think they are achieving anything by getting out of bed.
Don’t talk to them when they get out of bed, just calmly lead them back to bed, and don’t say anything if you stay in their room while they fall asleep, just sit on a chair or read a book. If you don’t react to them, then they will quickly get bored and realise that they might as well stay in their bed.
Getting your toddler used to their big bed usually takes around a month, but once you have them settled it will all be worth it.