So, when do you move your baby/ toddler from a cot to a bed?
There is no set age to move your baby or toddler from a cot to a bed but the transition generally happens between the ages of 18 months and 3 1/2 years.
New baby on it's way
There are lots of reasons why you’d make the transition but possibly the most common reason is the arrival of a new baby. If this is why you are considering moving your toddler, try to make the change at least 8 weeks before the baby is due. Once the new baby arrives, there will be so many changes in their little life, so it’s good to make the move into a bed well before the baby takes over their parents’ lives, not to mention their cot!
If your toddler is toilet training, they may need to be in a ‘big kids’ bed so they can get to the toilet at night.
Climbing out of the cot
Another reason to move your toddler to a bed is when you catch them attempting to climb out of their cot and looking like they may succeed! From a safety point of view, it may be better to have them in a bed, or take the sides off the cot, but this creates a whole new set of dangers, like rolling out of bed or just being able to move around the house at night.
How to make the transition from a cot to a bed easier for your toddler (and for you)?
Every child will respond differently to the idea of moving out of their cot. First born's will generally find the change harder than younger siblings who just want to be like their big brother or sister in a big bed.
1 Talk about the move to a ‘big bed’
As I mentioned in my last post, kids take on so much more than you think so talk to them about the transition to a big bed for at least a week before the move so it’s not a surprise. Toddlers like familiarity and formality. Make it into an exciting event, ‘only 2 more days till you move to a big bed!’ Answer their questions and reassure them of any concerns they may have.
2 Let them feel part of the bed and bedding purchases
If you need to buy a new bed, take them shopping if you can and let them be part of the purchase process. Get them to choose the new sheets, doona cover, blankets, etc.
3 Make sure they are safe
If you need to buy new sheets, I would of course recommend getting StayPut sheets to stop them rolling out of bed as this will be one of yours and their biggest worries about moving to a bed without sides. SIDS and kids do not like bed rails as kids can become trapped if the bed rails are not fitted properly. SIDS and kids also recommend starting with a toddler bed as it is lower to the ground. If you use a standard bed without StayPut sheets, you could put a firm mattress on the floor in case they roll out.
4 Place the bed in the same place as the cot
To make the change as seamless as possible, put the bed in the same place as the cot. Also, you could use their old cot blanket, even if it's too small, to make it look and feel the same as their old bed.
If you have room, you could leave the cot in their bedroom to start with. For day time naps, they could sleep in their new ‘big bed’ and at night, move back into their cot. This may help with the transition.
5 Stick with the same bedtime routines
Follow the same bedtime routines as you have always done. If you don’t have any set routine, this is a good time to start as they are more likely to get up in the middle of the night and come into your room… because they now can! Follow my ‘12 bedtime routines’ post for ideas. Having a good bedtime routine will help them feel safe and secure in their new bed and ease them into a good night’s sleep.
Good luck! I’d love to hear how you get on?