Father and child bedtime routine
There are so many milestones to celebrate in the first few years of your child’s life, including their first night spent in a proper bed. Making the transition from cot to bed can be difficult, especially for first-time parents. We’ve put together some tips to help you through this process as smoothly as possible.

When to transition from cot to bed

Every child develops at a different rate. As a rough guideline, children tend to be ready for the move from anywhere between 18 months and 3 years old. This may even vary between siblings. Rather than waiting for a specific age, it is better to look out for signs that they’re ready.

Here are some examples:

Climbing — if your toddler has managed to climb out of the cot, then it’s time to change.

Growth spurt — your toddler might physically outgrow their crib. If they start getting tall enough that they no longer comfortably fit in their crib, then a bed may be the better option.

Potty training — if you’re potty training your toddler and they no longer wear nappies overnight, then being able to get in and out of bed at night will give them the freedom and control they need.

Try to notice signs like these and make the decision to move them when they seem ready. Don’t worry if your child is turning 3 and still doesn’t seem ready; you have to let them develop at their own pace.

Toddler climbing out of cot

How to choose the right bed

Once it is time to make the change, you’ll want the right type of bed and mattress for your child. The two most important aspects of this choice are comfort and safety. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your child’s growth and development, and a comfortable bed can make all the difference. A supportive mattress provides optimum spinal support for your child. Read more about how to choose a mattress for your child.

In terms of safety, railings are a good idea. Your toddler is used to rolling around in a crib and being “caught” by the sides if necessary. Safety railings will prevent them from rolling out of bed. If a safety rail doesn’t fit with your child’s bed or if you choose not to have one, then just make sure the floor surrounding the bed is nice and soft. Lay down pillows and blankets if you need to.

Size may also be an important factor. If you get a small child-size bed, then you might end up needing a new one in a few years’ time as they grow. The Sealy Singles range lasts from toddler until teen so that they won’t grow out of it, as well as being safe and comfortable for your child.

Comparing the Sealy Single, Single XL and King Single sizes.

Making the transition easier

Keep things familiar

A new bed is a big change, so make the process easier by keeping as many other things as familiar as possible. For instance, move their favourite toys or blankets into the bed and keep their bedtime routine the same. Placing the new bed in the same place as the cot can also help, but some parents might need to move their toddler into a new bedroom to make space for other children.

Child-proof the room

If your child can climb out of their new bed, then you need to make sure the rest of the room is a safe environment for them. Make sure any electricals are completely secured. If the blinds or curtains have cords to adjust them, make sure these are out of reach or replace them with cords that don’t have a loop. You could also install a baby gate at the top of the stairs or in the doorway to your child’s room to prevent accidents.

Making bedtime exciting

Make it exciting

Let your child know in advance that they’ll be changing beds and make it sound like an exciting event. Make a big deal about it and praise them for trying out the new bed. You can involve them in the process as much as possible by letting them pick out the bed and covers with you.

Be patient

Your child might not adapt to their new bed straight away. This means that, even if they’ve been sleeping through the night for a while, you might have some sleepless nights at first. Give them time to get used to the new arrangement and be patient. If you’re frustrated, then your toddler is like to get more frustrated as well.

Key takeaways

  • Between 18 months and 3 years old is a common time to move your child into a new bed, but every child is different.
  • The most common reason to move your child from cot to bed is if they can climb out of the cot.
  • Keep safety and comfort in mind when choosing a bed and mattress for your child.
  • Make the move from cot to bed exciting while also retaining a sense of normality.
  • Be patient and let your child move to a bed in their own time.