Your child’s transition from cot to bed is a bittersweet milestone that may happen as early as 15 months or might not happen until after your tot’s third birthday, depending on your child. The transition often depends on your kiddo’s physical skills… but it’s important to make the move before your tyke becomes an escape artist.
Generally speaking, if your toddler seems like they are plotting their first cot break-out, or you’ve caught them vaulting commando-style over the railing, it’s probably time to move them to a bed. One more thing to consider: If you’re expecting another baby, move your toddler out of the cot a few months before little baby brother or sister arrives.
Is your child ready to transition from cot to bed? | Image source: iStock
Transition From Cot To Bed: First steps
Prior to the transition, make sure the cot mattress is on its lowest level and that it’s free of any toys or bumpers that your tot could use to hoist themselves over the railing. The top of the cot rail should be above their collarbone, and you should place a soft rug on the floor of the room with a non-slip mat under it)… just in case. Falls from that height can result in serious injuries.
Once you’ve decided your tot is ready for a toddler bed, there are a few ways to get your toddler excited about the move:
Prepare during the day
Tired tots are especially resistant to change. Get your child used to the new bed by making it a routine place for quiet play or massage and napping during the day, times when she’ll be more flexible.
Use familiar sleep cues
Sleep cues that your toddler is already used to, like a favourite lovey, white noise, or a familiar bedtime routine, can help ease the transition from cot to bed.
Tell special big-kid-bed stories
Make up stories or read books about how much fun it is to sleep in a big-kid bed. Or make a special Beddy-Bye book that you can peruse together every day with pictures of family members (and your dog!) asleep in their beds.
‘Gossip’ to your child’s dollies or teddies during the day about how well she is adjusting to her new bed. (Gossip makes praise more effective than if you delivered it directly to your tot!)
Invest your child in the process
Take your kiddo shopping for bedding and let her have a say in what you choose! This will help her feel part of the transition process become enthused about her new sleeping space.
Snoozing off in his big kid bed. | Image source: iStock
Kidspot recommends these toddler safety products:
Transition From Cot To Bed: Safety first
The downside to moving your toddler to a bed is that they can pop out anytime they want! That means you’ll need to take some extra precautions to keep them safe:
- Childproof the room really well. Cover electric outlets, keep curtain cords out of reach and address sharp corners.
- Use a gate to keep them in her room. If they climb over it, take some time to train them to stay in the room or even close the door. Tell them something like, “Sweetie, this is Mr Gate! Mr Gate will help you stay safe… so at bedtime, after we sing and read and say night-night… then we’ll close Mr Gate… and he will help you stay happy in your room all night.”
- Consider a doorknob cover. If the gate doesn’t do the trick, you may need to close the door and put a doorknob cover on the inside of the door to her room to keep her safely inside.
Update their routine
Along with upgrading your child’s bed, you’ll also want to upgrade their bedtime routine! A toddler bedtime routine can help your tyke wind down and learn that they have expected to stay in bed. Here are a few tips on creating a toddler bedtime routine. You may also find my favourite bedtime trick, Twinkle Interruptus (which involves stretching your tot’s patience so they get used to dozing off without Mum or Dad in the room) helpful during this transition!
Moving a toddler from the cot to a bed is a big moment in your child’s life… and yours, too! As with all life changes, it can be a little stressful, but with a little planning, you should all be sleeping soundly soon. Good luck!
Dr. Harvey Karp is the founder of Happiest Baby and one of America’s most trusted paediatricians. His highly innovative and celebrated books/videos, The Happiest Baby on the Block, The Happiest Toddler on the Block and The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep have been translated into dozens of languages and have made him one of the world’s most renowned baby and sleep experts. Dr. Karp’s breakthrough discoveries —the calming reflex, the 5 S’s and Toddler-ese — have benefited millions of parents and are taught by thousands of specially trained educators in over 20 nations.
Sweet dreams, little one. | Image source: iStock
This article was first published in KidSpot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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