Transition to a big bed

Think you’re ready for your little one to move to a big bed?

It’s very hard to know when the time is right and, once the change has been made, there’s no going back! Many parents do this transition too early, thinking it will solve the bedtime troubles. But often it just changes your child from a cot-climber to a room-wanderer.

It’s important to try to not listen to what all your friends’ children are doing as every child is different and has different temperaments and personalities. Parents can feel pressure about what to because they know other children of a similar age who have supposedly made the transition successfully. But it often just means that these children have not yet realised that they can make their escape yet!

My advice it that it’s best to wait to as near to 3 years old as you can get.

Children can’t cognitively understand the principle of staying in bed until at least 2.5 years old. If you do it before this time and they stay getting out of bed, it will just make it harder to teach them that they have to stay in bed until you come and get them.

Here’s a couple of things to try (if you already have a cot climber) to try before making the transition:

- Sleep sacs/ Gro sac- These can stop them being able to get their leg over the side of the cot to climb out. There are some bags which come with feet holes so children don’t trip over in their cots. The children can still stand and move about but it restricts their movement enough so they can’t climb out

- Soft landing/mattress on the floor- If they do still manage to climb out, they at least have a soft landing. This gives you peace of mind that they won’t be hurt while still encouraging them to stay in their cot.

When you do decide it’s time that they move to a big bed, try and make it a big occasion. Let them choose their bedding, and new ‘big girl/boy pyjamas’. Help them move their toys into their new bed and practice putting their toys to sleep! Anything to make them more enthusiastic about their new bed and want to stay in it!

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