The move from a cot to a ‘big’ bed can be really exciting for your little one and for you. It is a sign that your little one is maybe not so little anymore and is growing and starting to understand the world around them and beginning to explore. As exciting as the transition from a cot to a bed can be, it is vital that this transition does not occur too early or you may come to have a new reality of night waking’s, a frequent little visitor to your bedroom and poor naps. This blog will take you through a few tips of how to delay the cot to bed transition.
This blog follows on from my ‘Transition from Cot to Bed’, blog where you can read all about ‘how and when’ to make the transition.
Most toddlers are not ready for this transition to a big bed until they are close to 3 years of age. This is because at around 3 years old is when children will have developed more ‘impulse control’. At this time you could start to introduce some sleep rules, with rewards charts. Transitioning to a big bed before this ‘impulse control’ has developed will result in night time waking’s and a game of tennis between yours and your little ones room.
There are many reasons though that the transition is made earlier than this. The cot maybe needed for a new sibling or because the toddler is now walking, mum and dad think they must transition them as a next step. Lots of parents feel peer pressure to follow at their friends’ pace or perhaps parents just think it would be nice for the child to have their own proper bed.
I speak to lots of clients that have transitioned too soon and are having sleep regressions as a result. Early transitions are most common as their gymnast baby is starting to attempt to climb out of the cot. There is of course a massive safety concern here and whilst a child learning how to sleep independently can stop the night time gymnastics it is totally understandable as a reason to transition sooner than is recommended.
I would suggest to any parent that they leave the transition from cot to big bed for as long as is possible and if there are starting to become reasons for wanting to transition, then maybe some of the below tips may help delay just a little bit longer.
The bed is for sleep only.
The bed is to be associated with sleep and nothing more. There should be no toys in the cot, only 1 comforter or cuddly toy when the child is over 1 year old. Anything fun in the cot may introduce the idea of the cot being a place for fun and play instead of rest, relaxation, and sleep.
Lowest cot setting
Cots with lower settings are ideal to deter a child from trying to climb the sides. Lower the mattress as soon as baby is mobile as sitting and standing quickly follow.
Sleeping bags are great.
Sleeping bags make movements like standing and walking difficult and they will not consider being able to lift their leg to climb the cot. Lots of brands now make sleeping bags for much older children in all tog ratings and so no need to ditch them too early.
Timings for sleep.
Always keep an eye on awake windows or use an early bedtime (not before 6pm) if your toddler no longer naps but has had a long day. Under tired little ones will want to play and this will give them opportunity to try out their cot gymnastics. If you see them starting to climb on the monitor go back to them and without too much conversation lay them back down and repeat this calmly until they stay laid down. Try not to make a game out of it and remain consistent.
Be patient. Try to wait as long as possible before making the transition to a bed.
If your little one is struggling to sleep, please get in touch. I can help with the transition from cot to bed with children over 2.5 years old. Book a free, no obligation call and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep