Moving to a big bed is a huge milestone for your little one – they grow up so quick! Typically this shouldn’t be any earlier than 2.5 years, it really depends on the child but it’s not something you want to rush. Trust us.
Signs it’s time to move your toddler out of their cot
- They are climbing out of the cot and it is not safe to keep them in there
- They are toilet training and they need easy access to get to the toilet
- You are having another baby who will need the cot
- They no longer fit in the cot
When you do make the call to move your child into a bed there are some simple things you need to do to prepare.
Complete a safety check of their room.
- Is there anything your child could get into or cause harm? Are the locks on windows secure and curtain/blind cords are out of reach.
- Place overs over any electrical sockets and hide any cords.
- Secure any furniture to walls eg bookshelves or drawers that can fall on to them.
- Check for any other choking hazards or potential dangers.
- Depending on their age you may think about placing a safety gate on their door to stop them leaving the room.
- If they will be able to get out of their room themselves ensure it is safe, blocking off stairs or access to anywhere you might not want them in, eg kitchen and ensuring cupboards are locked.
Setting up their bed
- Choose a position against the wall (at least initially) that will prevent them from rolling out of bed – you can then place a rail guard or pillows on the floor in case they roll out.
- If your child is an active sleeper (they move around a lot) you might want to start off with their mattress on the floor while they get used to sleeping there. It can take longer for some children to learn to sleep straight and not move around like they do in their cots.
- If your child still struggles to keep covers on at night you may want to keep them in a sleeping bag or a sleepsuit so they don’t wake up cold during the night.
Remember children under two years old should never sleep with a pillow or blanket/doona.
Helping your child adjust to the transition
- Talk to your child about moving to a big bed in the weeks leading up to it and start getting them excited for the change. Explain how sleeping in a big bed works (it might seem simple to you but it’s brand new to them).
- Getting them to help pick out the bed or bedding can help them feel in control and be a part of the process.
- Use encouragement and positive language whenever you talk about the transition.
- If they don’t have one already you might want to think about a night light to help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.
- Ask them how they might like to do their bedtime routine now, eg reading books together in their bed before lights go out and mummy/daddy say goodnight. This reinforces the process but also helps them feel part of the decision making.
When your child moves into a big bed its an emotional moment for all – you baby is growing up! But it’s also a big milestone for them that might take some getting used to. Remember that toddlers are programmed to test the boundaries – and this newfound freedom will be a big one! Set a routine and stick to it and soon enough they will get with the program. Be prepared that there might be some broken sleep initially but remember it won’t last forever.