Last Updated on May 10, 2021
All children are different, and while there is no set age to make a move from a cot to a new bed, you’ll want to be prepared when the time comes. Whether you want to plan for the future, or are already seeing some telltale signs for when to move from cot to bed, here’s everything you need to know, plus some handy tips to help make this exciting step go that bit smoother.
When’s Best to Move From a Cot to a Bed?
Moving from cot to bed generally takes place anytime between 18 months and three years old. Before you go ahead and make the change, let’s take a look at when and why parents typically decide to transition their toddler from a cot to a bed.
Your Toddler Can Climb Out of Their Cot
This can result in a dangerous fall, so if your little one is quite tall for their age or scales everything in sight, big bedtime will be much earlier from 18 months.
Around Two Years Old
This age is often considered a good one to make the transition to a new bed. While it’s not a strict toddler bed age, if your child has older siblings, chances are they will be ready to make the change sooner.
If your young child is toilet training, it makes sense to switch them to a toddler bed. While dry nights only follow on after dry days have been mastered, it’s important that your child can access the toilet when they need to go, whatever time of day, evening or night that may be.
Before a New Sibling
If you are expecting a baby and intend on using the same crib for your little one, you’re going to want to make the transition sooner rather than later. Make the transition several months before the birth. It will give your toddler a chance to fully adapt to their big bed without feeling any resentment when the new baby sleeps in the cot later on.
Your Child Asks for a Big Bed
Some children are fine sleeping in their cot until they are around three. If your child hasn’t outgrown their cot and sleeps well at bedtime in it, you may decide to delay the transition. If, however, they actually ask for a big bed, it’s a clear sign that they are ready to make the change.
How to Make a Smooth Transition
Even if your child is ready to transition from cot to bed, making the transition can be tricky for some young children. Here’s what you need to be aware of before moving your child to a big bed, as well as some tips to help make things go smoothly.
Before you even set up your child’s big bed, it’s really important to plan. Your child will be able to get out of bed whenever they choose. While most toddlers will settle down once the novelty wears off, you’re going to have to make sure that their bedroom is safe should they get up at night and go exploring unattended.
Have the Right Bed
First off, if your little one is fairly young, but you still need to move them out of their cot, consider using a mattress on the floor with pillows or a duvet at the side in case they roll out of bed. Most toddlers aged between one and a half and two years will be fine with a low-down toddler bed, making it easier for them to get up and back to bed. Toddler beds with side rails are also a great choice and can help ease your mind if you are worried about your little one falling. If you are using a single bed, push one side up against the wall and make sure there isn’t a gap where your child could get stuck.
Get Rid of Danger
Take a good look around your child’s room. Consider everything they could get curious about if they wake up and decide to get up. Ensure that you secure any exposed electrical sockets, shorten any hanging blind cords and rectify any potential trip hazards.
For better nights’ sleep, you may want to move or conceal any on display toys, so your child can get used to their new freedom without being tempted to start playing in the night, compromising sleep duration.
Involve Your Child
Allow your toddler as much input as possible when setting up their new bed. Whether it’s “helping” you to build the new bed or letting your child choose their own bedding, it’s important that your child feels involved in this important step in their lives. Bedding featuring their favourite characters, vehicles or animals makes a good choice.
Once you’ve got the room secured and the new bed all set up, it’s important to stick to a good bedtime routine. Once your little one is snuggled in under the bedding, take advantage of the lack of cot bars. You can spend quality time and read a story together. As sleep is essential to your child’s development, try to get new bedtimes off to a good start. Let your child know that moving around their room at night is not good – night time is for sleeping. You don’t want them to ake getting in and out of bed at night into a game.
Choose a Stress-Free Period
It will take a few weeks for the idea of changing beds to settle in for some children. Even if you think it’s a great idea to make a move right away, if you have any upcoming changes to your household, you may be better off waiting for a stress-free period where a few nights with less sleep than usual won’t be quite as harsh while your child settles in.
Why You Shouldn’t Rush
There’s no cot bed age limit. So, even if your child is nearing three years but still sleeping well in their cot, don’t rush to make the switch to a big bed. Sometimes it’s just best to wait until you get a good sign that it’s time for your child. In fact, leaving your child that little bit longer before transitioning to a bed could actually benefit their sleep, as suggested in this study.
Parents often worry about their children’s sleep, and figuring out when to move from cot to bed is a major step for both you and your child. Ensure that you don’t rush the process and allow your toddler to get used to the idea of a new bed before saying goodbye to their baby one. With a little patience and planning, making a move to a big bed will go just fine.
Are you thinking about getting your baby a bed? Any other parenting tips? Let us know in the comments below.