Moving your toddler from cot to bed – blankets, security and lighting
Like most parenting decisions, there is no exact answer as to when this should happen, and most parents will turn to Google and the parenting books for guidance. From a safety point of view, if your child has started to try to climb out of the cot, it’s probably time to make the move. If you have another little one on the way, don’t leave it until you need the cot for the baby, as that might mean your toddler feels completely usurped! It is different for every family, but as a rough guide, most toddlers move between about 18 months old and two and a half years old.
It’s important to explain the move, and make it a welcome one – not a scary one. For some children, a single bed feels enormous and cold after the security of their cot. For some parents, it can lead to a whole series of interrupted nights – especially if you make the move without a bit of transition planning. Favourite bed-toys or blankies definitely need to make the move at the same time. If your child is old enough, involve them in the process of choosing their new bedding, or even “helping” to build their new bed or making up the bed and moving the teddies. Some people find it helpful to dismantle the cot and replace with the new bed in the same place – involving your toddler all the way.
One way to begin the transition from cot to bed, is to introduce the new bedding first. Mama Omnio bought a lightweight toddler size duvet and her first one used this in the cot with the very thin (sheet) sleeping bag for a couple of months. Since then, Gro-bag have developed a range of bedding that helps the change from a baby-sleeping-bag into using a duvet – and offers a solution to a common problem of the duvet being kicked off in the night. Some of the bedding is not recommended until 2 years old, and you certainly shouldn’t be looking at using pillows or duvets until your child is at least 1, but worth considering bedding options here as well as thinking about the actual furniture.
Some people invest in cot-beds for their new born baby, so that the actual piece of furniture stays the same and grows with their child. As well as offering reassurance that they are still sleeping in “their” space, these often have the advantage of being low to the ground. Moving to a bed can mean falling out of bed. If you’re moving your toddler to a “normal” full size single bed, it’s worth considering bed rails to keep them safely IN the bed at night…..but in our experience many of them are difficult to fit and have a very short useful life (toddlers, by definition, are explorers and climbers). Mama Omnio left the old cot mattress on the floor next to the bed for a couple of weeks, to soften the fall. A more modern option is to consider these innovative inflatable bed-rails available from Hippy Chick which you can easily move from bed to bed if staying away from home, and won’t take up masses of valuable storage space when you no longer need them.
A bed rail is never going to be as effective at containing your toddler as the cot was. You might have a child that likes their bed and doesn’t even think about getting up by themselves. If you have, be thankful. Or you might have entered a new phase of, “Why is everything in the house so dangerous?” If you haven’t already thoroughly baby-proofed your home, now is the time to consider walking around and looking at every aspect of your house from a toddler perspective – especially your toddler’s room, but anywhere they might be able to wander during the night. If you are potty-training at the same time, there needs to be a safe route from bed to bathroom, for example.
It is also worth considering keeping the sleeping space tidy and calm – if their bedroom or nursery is full of exciting toys and games, and your toddler wakes in the night, there isn’t much incentive for your toddler to stay safely in their bed! This is also a common time for children to begin to be afraid of the dark and so it might be time to invest in some adjustable night lights. We love these Cozy Glo night lights that offer friendly reassurance and a wealth of other useful features.
If you think you know someone else who might like to see this article please share it!