How to make the transition
Moving from a cot to a big bed can be both a challenging and exciting time for both parents and child.
Most toddlers make the transition from cot to bed between about 18 months and three years. However, there’s no specific time that your toddler needs to move to a new bed.
It’s different for every family. Many parents make the switch when their toddler is able to climb out of the cot, or grows too tall to sleep comfortably. You’ll probably be able to tell when your toddler reaches this stage, but you can also check with your health visitor for guidance.
If you do decide to make the change, your toddler won’t be able to hurt themselves by falling from their cot any more, but your little one will be able to get up by themselves at night. So make sure you toddler-proof the bedroom, if you haven’t already.
Another common reason for making the change to a bed is if the cot is needed for a new arrival. If you’re expecting another baby, try to introduce your toddler to their new bed at least six weeks before your due date.
If your toddler is your firstborn, they may not really understand why they need to move to a new bed. An early transition will give your toddler plenty of time to settle into their bed before the upheaval of a new baby.
Toddlers with older siblings often have an easier time, as they want to be just like their brother or sister.
Alternatively, you can delay the switch until your new baby is three months or four months old, as he’s likely to be in a Moses basket or crib at first anyway.
But it’s best not to make the change within a month or so either side of the birth. A new arrival is already a time of huge change for your toddler, and a bit of stability will help them cope with the transition.
Lastly, if your child your toddler is potty training, a bed will allow them to get to the toilet when they need to.
Every toddler responds to a new bed in their own way. Some will adjust easily to the change, while others will need a bit more help. Decide when you’re going to make the change and talk it up a week in advance so it’s not a big shock.
To ease the transition, put the bed in the same place as the cot, if you can. Your toddler may also find it soothing to sleep with his old cot blanket, even if it’s too small.
If your toddler’s old enough, you could take them to a shop and let them choose their own new bed or bedding. They may be so excited about getting a big bed that they can’t wait to dive into it!
No matter how prepared your toddler is to move to a bed, always use a guardrail at first to prevent them falling out. Your little one will be used to the side of the cot stopping them when they roll over.
If your toddler’s struggling to feel comfortable with their new bed a few weeks after the transition, they may not be quite ready yet. If you’re able to keep their cot, you can always bring it back for a while and try the change again another time. Don’t see this as a step backwards though. They may just need a bit more time to adjust.
If putting your toddler back in their cot isn’t an option, you may just need to give them a bit of time and patience. They will take their cues from you; so don’t let yourself get too frustrated. Stay calm, and stick to your normal routine as far as possible to reassure your little one that there is a lot that is still the same.
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