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Ease The Transition From Cot To Bed

As parents, there are going to be many times when you have to make a decision which will make you anxious. One of those occasions is likely to be moving your child from the relative safety of a cot and into their first ‘big’ bed. This will usually occur sometime between eighteen months and three years.

There are probably three main reasons to move your child from a cot to a bed:

  1. You suddenly find that your child can actually climb out of their cot. This is usually heralded by their appearance at the end of your bed in the early hours of the morning – unfortunately falls are pretty common during the toddler years so a move is a good idea rather than waiting for an accident to happen.
  2. Your child becomes too big for the confines of a cot and simply need the space afforded by a bed.
  3. The imminent arrival of a new baby brother or sister – somehow it seems kinder to do the transition soon enough that you avoid your child feeling jealous that they have lost their sleeping quarters to the new usurper.

I guess the reason why we feel anxious is because our precious bundle is suddenly seemingly exposed to all manner of new threats simply because they can easily get out of their new bed. Your child is also likely to feel a little scared because suddenly the safe place they have spent multiple hours of their lives in is no longer available to them.

There are a few ways to make this transition a little easier for both your child and yourself:

  • Make the move seem like a really exciting and positive step – choose some nice new bedding together and some special ‘moving’ bed pyjamas.
  • Whenever possible keep to the same bedroom rather than moving to an unfamiliar one.
  • Keep some familiarity with soft toys or a well-loved blanket.
  • Make the first sleep an afternoon nap so that you can keep an eye on how well your child settles.
  • Stick to all your previous familiar bed time routines so that most elements remain exactly as they were previously.
  • Consider using a reward chart so that your child is encouraged to enjoy the process.
  • Being able to get out of bed can become an issue – start as you mean to go and be very firm about returning them to their bed.
  • Fit a stair gate across the bedroom door if you are concerned about potential accidents on the stairs, etc. during the night. This will also encourage your child to remain in their bed if they are unable to move further than the bedroom door.
  • A bed guard can be of assistance if you are concerned about your child rolling out of bed in their sleep.
  • For safety reasons make sure that your windows have safety catches and keep any cords on blinds secured out of reach as they can be a dangerous hazard.
  • Some parents choose to make the transition a gradual process by introducing the bed whilst retaining the cot for a period of time. This can be a two-edged sword with particularly resistant children. However, only you can decide which method will work best for your own offspring.

Try to be happy and positive to ensure that your child doesn’t become too troubled about the whole changeover process. Lots of praise and encouragement is essential at every stage and after a short time your child will be settled in their new environment and hopefully sleeping like a baby!

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