6 Top Tips When Transitioning a Toddler from Cot to Bed

6 Top Tips When Transitioning a Toddler from Cot to Bed

We’ve recently moved our youngest into a “big boy bed” – toddler bed – which he has been keen to do for a little while. If I’m completely honest, life was easy when he was still in his cot – he never climbed out so once he was in bed in the evening that was it and in the morning he’d call for me to get him once “the sun came up”.

Years ago I read that little ones don’t understand the concept on staying in bed when it’s sleep time until they’re about three. This, and the fact that evenings to relax are precious, meant that we were in no rush to make any changes. But all good things come to an end and at three and half the time seemed right to make this transition.

I’m pleased to report that the change has been pretty seamless (better than the first time round when son #1 asked for his cot back every night for about a month) and I thought I’d share the things we learnt for anyone else about to make the same leap.

6 Top Tips

  1. Wait until you think your child is ready to move – try not to take them out of the cot because you need it for a younger child otherwise they may feel pushed out. If you do plan to use the cot for a new baby, make the transition as soon as possible for the elder child and dismantle the cot for a while so they no longer think of it as theirs.
  2. Before you move your child into a cot it’s a good idea to think about their bedding etc. Think about giving them a pillow if they don’t already have one and a few weeks later if they’re still in a sleeping bag give them a duvet or blanket. Ideally introduce the changes gradually so they’re not overwhelmed.
  3. Some children are really attached to their sleeping bags so may be hesitant to give it up. A friend in this situation let her son take an old sleeping bag to bed with him.
  4. Talk to your child in advance to let them know that the change will be coming soon and get them on board with the idea. They will love to feel they are part of the decision.
  5. We have always been keen that our children don’t leave their rooms once it is sleep time and so have kept monitors in their room so they can call us if needed. This way they’re not tempted to come downstairs and procrastinate (ok, they still procrastinate but at least we don’t have to persuade them to go back to their rooms). This way they’re also not quite so aware of what they’re missing out on!
  6. Explain to your child what you expect them to do when you leave them when it is time to sleep and similarly when they wake in the morning. As I said, our kids know they’re not to leave their rooms once we’ve said goodnight (apart from loo visits) and they also don’t leave their rooms in the morning until the sun comes up on their Groclocks. Sometimes we can hear them shuffling round their rooms in the morning but at least we don’t have to get out of bed until a reasonable hour!

This can be a tricky transition – sometimes we have no choice but to do it sooner than we might wish if little ones are climbing out of their cots (see this great suggestion from Happy Hooligans if you’re in this position) – but if you have the option, leave it as long as you can. I heard it said of potty training that a lazy parent and a ready child makes it a quick and easy process. I think the same can be said of the move from cot to bed.

Good luck x