A lot of parents start to think about the move from cot to bed when they feel their child is starting to outgrow their cot, usually between 18 to 36 months old. There may be other reasons for doing so such as expecting a new baby, toilet training and simply wanting your personal space back if they are still in your room.If you are expecting a new baby try to make sure that you do the transition to the big bed about 8 weeks before the baby is due, allowing the oldest child to get accustomed to their new big bed and not to feel like the baby is taking their cot from them. If you are toilet training then you will need to move your child as they will need to be able to get up and down to go to the toilet. Another sign that your child is ready to move is if they start to climb and jump out of the cot, this can be dangerous if they fall so being in the big bed is probably safer for them.
Some children do the transition to the big bed very easily like my 4 year old son did. He loves being a ‘big boy’ and wouldn’t even let us in his room haha! We moved him from our bedroom at 1 year old into his own room, but kept him in his cot and then when our second baby was nearly due we put him in the big bed. He was 18 months old, and he was fine. It was more I who felt upset, feeling like my little baby was growing up. It is a milestone to mark, as it can be very emotional for some parents. However, it was a totally different story with my 2 year old, he screamed endlessly for nights when I tried to move him! We moved him around his second birthday, at which point he was still in our room! This time the move was more for my own sanity than any other reason, I just needed my space back. Some people criticised me for keeping him in my room for so long, but it just felt like the right thing to do. I’m a believer in going with your instincts and that some children just take longer than others to feel ready to do something. After 5 nights, he finally stopped crying and settled into his new bed in his new room with his big brother. Having his Brother there with him certainly helped.
So if you have a chid that is finding it difficult to move from cot to bed then here are my top 5 tips to help with the transition.
- If your child is already in their own room then put the bed where the cot is, keeping the environment familiar. It’s very simple, but children need to feel safe and are comforted by their surroundings remaining the same. By doing this their ‘view’ from the bed is the same as the view from the cot and they will have a similar feeling as when they were in the cot.
- Let them keep their favourite blanket and teddy bear with them and don’t wash the blanket for a little while. Children relate to smells and the blanket will smell familiar to their cot.
- Celebrate. Make a big deal out of it. Take your child bed shopping and let them choose their new bed and tell them how brave they are and how they are becoming a big boy/girl. Give them a little time to adjust to what’s happening by setting a date for the move and they’re more likely to want to do it.
- Stick with their usual bedtime routine. Moving into a big bed IS a big deal so keep everything else around them the same. This will create a sense of familiarity and safety, and the transition will be likely to go much smoother.
- Make the room safe. Put up a safety gate if necessary, make sure windows are locked and there is nothing lying around a child could harm themselves on, e.g. loose electrical cords, drinking glasses, etc.
Despite following all this, some children are just not ready to move.
If your child is still quite young, nearer 2 years than 3 years for example, just simply put the cot back and try again a few weeks time. Don’t forget to acknowledge your feelings too; it’s a big deal when our babies start to grow up, so take some time out to appreciate all you’ve been through and congratulate yourself on another milestone achieved.
How did you find the transition to a big bed? Or are you about to try it? Let us know below.
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