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How to transition your child from cot to bed

There are so many milestones to celebrate in the first few years of your child’s life, such as their first words, their first steps, and their first night spent in a proper bed. This last one can cause some headaches – but you’re likely used to that by now as a parent of a toddler!

Making the transition from cot to bed can be difficult, especially for first-time parents. So, we’ve put together some tips to help you through this process as easily as possible.

When to transition from cot to bed

Every child develops at a different rate, so don’t get caught up on making the transition by a certain age. But 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, so don’t necessarily expect your second child to be ready at the same time as your first.
Rather than waiting for a specific age, it is better to look out for signs that they’re ready to move up in the world of sleep. Here are some signs that might tell you they’re ready:
  • Climbing – If your toddler looks like they’ll be making a break for it at any moment, or if they actually have managed to climb out of the cot, then it’s time to change. A toddler climbing out of a cot can lead to falling and injury, so they’ll be safer in a low bed.
  • 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 three and still doesn’t seem ready; you have to let them develop at their own pace.

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 firm 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. The bed should also be low to the floor so that they won’t injure themselves badly if they do fall out of bed or if they climb over the railings.
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, which will be another expense. 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.

Tips for a smooth transition

Wondering how to keep your toddler in bed? To make the process easier for you and your child, here are a few tips on how to transition from cot to bed.

Keep things familiar

A new bed is a big change, so make the process easier by keeping as many other things the same as possible. Move their favourite toys or blankets into the bed. 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 their new baby.

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. Here are a few more tips for childproofing a bedroom.

Make it exciting

Let your child know in advance that they’ll be changing beds and make it sound like an exciting event. They’re finally moving into a big boy or big girl bed! 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 bedding with you.

Be patient

Your child might not adapt straight away to their new bed. 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 things to take away

  • 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.
We hope these tips help you deal with any transition from cot to bed problems. We’ve got lots more tips for mums looking for a better night’s sleep with their kids.


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