Making the move from cot to bed
Moving your child into their first bed.
It is normally recommended to keep toddlers in their cot for as long as possible and don’t normally suggest making this transition until around 2.5 to 3 years of age. Developmentally then, your child has the mental reasoning necessary to understand words like “stay in your bed all night.
Before making the big move, it is worth discussing your plans with your toddler and giving him or her a sense of ownership over their sleeping arrangements. It can sometimes be helpful to give them lots of small choices around their sleep-such as what colour pyjamas do you want to wear-purple or pink? Which two books shall we read tonight? This may also coincide with your plans to toilet train your youngster and you don’t want to overload them with lots of changes all in the one go. It makes sense to transition to the big bed first, and then tackle the training-but you will know your own toddler best.
Try to avoid switching your toddler into the big bed at the same time that a new baby may be coming into the household
Intoducing a reward chart can be really helpful.
Using positive re-enforcement and praising the behaviour that you would like to see more of can make this transition seamless.
You will need to amend your existing bedtime routine and make sure that you are firm about the boundaries. Try not to fall into the trap of “one more story”; as these stalling techniques can often spiral out of control. It may be helpful to use a timer for the bedtime routine. Also, avoid agreeing to stay lying down with your child or holding hands at bedtime, unless you plan to co-sleep or room share.
In the event your toddler gets out of bed, quietly and calmly return them to bed without too much fuss. Try not to re-enforce this behaviour by talking or interacting too much with them. Avoid carrying them back to bed, they should walk and climb into the bed themselves. However, ensure that your toddler feels safe and secure in this new environment.
Finally, if your toddler is struggling to adjust to the bed, you may have made the change too soon. Don’t panic, just put them back in their cot and wait a little longer.
Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.