Transitioning from Cot to Bed
Transitioning from cot to bed is an exciting time in your child’s life, as it marks the beginning of them discovering a whole new world of independence. However, you may find your little one becomes clingy and unsettled during this period, as they try to adjust to their new sleeping environment. Being patient, loving and reassuring towards them is crucial to navigating these childhood milestones as smoothly as possible.
Children are usually ready to transition between the ages of two to three and a half years. You'll know your child is ready to transition to a bed when you notice your child climbs out of their cot (and if it looks like they might succeed), or if your child needs to get to the toilet at night.
Every child is different - and so while some children may transition as early as 18 months, the age when each child is ready to move to a big bed can vary. It’s good to take things one step at a time and transition whenever your child feels emotionally and developmentally ready – young children are at risk of hurting themselves when they roll out of bed, and from a psychological point of view, they may feel a fair amount of pressure to “grow up” – this is especially the case if the reason for transition is the arrival of a new baby.
If you need to free the cot for a new baby, it is best to do so about one to two months before or after the birth of your baby. Otherwise, your toddler may resent the baby for coming into the house and immediately ‘stealing’ the cot. Moving to a big bed months before the arrival of your newborn also gives your toddler enough time to adjust to his/her new sleeping environment.
Tips for Transitioning
Make the move sound exciting
When your little cutie is ready to make the move, praise them for being a big boy/big girl and oh so independent for sleeping in a ‘big bed’. Let your child know that you are excited and proud of them. Get them involved in setting up the bed, packing up the cot, and shopping for sleepsuits.
While buying your child an X-TEND Sleepsuit, let them be involved in the process!
You could also have a little tea party or a fun trip to the zoo to celebrate the move. Make it sound exciting, and your toddler will look forward to the day with excitement.
Give a sense of familiarity
It’s a good idea to allow children to take their favourite toy or comforter from their old cot to their new bed. This will help keep things familiar, thus make the move less daunting for your child. Continue your child’s particular sleep associations and patterns, as the familiarity will help give them a sense of safety and security.
Safe Transitioning Tips
- To safely transition and prevent injury risks from falling out of a bed, parents may choose to use a cot mattress on the floor or a toddler bed.
- If using a mattress on the floor, ensure it is clean and firm. Keep the mattress area clear of soft toys, pillows, bean bags, plastic bags or similar objects that can mould around a child’s face, resulting in suffocation.
- If using an adult bed, ensure there are no spaces between bars or panels bigger than 95mm. Bigger gaps can cause a young child to become trapped. Keep the floor drop to a minimum and use soft flooring materials around the bed to minimise injury from a fall.
- Do not use bunk beds for children under nine years of age.
- Keep dangling cords and strings out of reach as they could get caught around a child’s neck.
- Keep heaters, electrical appliances and access to power points well away from child’s reach.
- Ensure all furniture and TVs are attached with wall brackets so they cannot be readily tipped over.
- Ensure stairs and windows are not accessible.
- Pay attention to any other potential hazards that may result in falls, drowning, strangulation, entrapment or poisoning.