How to Transition Your Child From A Cot To A Bed

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Making the move from a cot to a single bed or bigger is a big deal, both for the child and the parent. Here are a few steps on how you can help make the transition from cot to bed go smoothly.

You can also learn a great deal about the importance of sleep in our resource centre including how to choose the right mattress firmness for growing bodies.

1. Choosing the right time

Knowing when to transition your child from a cot to their first bed can definitely help make the move go smoothly. You may wish to start by asking yourself these questions:

1. Is your child starting to climb out of the cot?

2. Does your child ask about getting their first bed?

3. When sleeping, does your child’s arms or legs touch the sides or end of the cot?

4. Is your child between the ages of 18 months and 3 ½ years? 

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions it may be the right time for you to start the transition process from cot to their very first bed!

2. Preparation is key

Make sure your toddler knows that getting their first bed is something to be excited about! Change can be scary for children, so keeping them informed at each step along the way is a great idea. 

Let them know you plan to transition them from a cot to a bed a few weeks in advance. Remind them every evening about the big day – you can even mark it on the calendar. Ask them how they are feeling about it, read books about bedtime and toddler’s first beds. It’s an exciting time with some great books to choose from. 

Expect a few less-than-perfect nights’ sleep as you and your child adjust to the change and the new freedoms that come with sleeping in a proper bed. With a little preparation, however, you should be able to avoid most cot to bed transition problems and have your toddler sleeping soundly and safely through the night in no time.

3. Involve your child in the process

Sometimes parents choose to transition a toddler from a cot to their first bed when they have another baby on the way who will require the cot. If this is the case for your family, ensure your toddler feels that they are ready for this exciting move.

You could start by asking if your toddler wants to help put their first bed together. Allowing them to help choose the new linen and any other decorative features you’ll be adding to their room can make it a fun and creative exercise. You can also let them give input on how the new bed should be positioned in their room.

Getting your child involved gives them a sense of control over the situation and should help to make the transition from cot to bed a positive one.

4. Keep things safe

This is a very important step. One of the most common cot to bed transition problems is the potential for accidents to occur when your once contained child now has the run of their room… and the whole house!

Your child will now be able to leave their bed at any point without you there keeping an eye on them. Triple check that their room (and the rest of the house) is 100% safe. Check that power points, electrical appliance cords, curtain cords, heavy furniture, small coins, medicine and batteries are safely stored away or removed. 

Bookshelves can pose a serious hazard too. Ensuring all bookshelves and large furniture are bolted to the walls will reduce the risks of climbing-related accidents.We also recommend a toddler rail for the first few months of them being in their big bed.  This is to prevent them from rolling out and potentially injuring themselves.

5. Stick to a routine

Be consistent. Maintain the normal bedtime routine, as they had when they were in the cot. For example:

  • Dinner
  • Bath
  • A small drink or snack
  • Brush teeth
  • Storytime
  • Bedtime

Sticking to the same routine your child had before they moved into their bed will minimise the number of changes they’ll have to adjust to when moving into their new bed.

6. Create a morning box

This is a great idea that should help you manage your mornings when you decide to transition your little one from a cot to a bed.

Firstly, once your child has fallen asleep in their big kids’ bed, discreetly leave a box at the foot of the bed containing 2 to 3 books and a toy they haven’t used for a while. Your Morning Box can be used to keep them occupied in the mornings, help them to develop some independent play skills and may buy you some more time for sleep (fingers crossed!).

7. Choosing a bed

When your child is ready to move from the cot to a bed, you have a few options.

SIZE If you have the space, choose a larger size mattress. Chances are you will be spending some time in the new bed for stories and cuddle time, but also to resettle them back to sleep if they wake in the night. Choose a mattress size that you can comfortably fit in with your child.

COMFORT Edge support is incredibly important in the design of children’s mattresses – the better support this area has the more comfortable you’ll be when seated. Ensure the mattress you choose has sufficient edge support, for reading and comforting your child in bed at night.

Strong edge support also benefits your little one by helping to prevent roll-off, a common occurrence when children are transitioning to their new big beds.

MATERIALS Synthetic mattresses can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems and other health issues, particularly for children with allergies. To prevent a possible reaction from your toddler’s first bed, choose a mattress made of natural materials, including cotton, organic wool, silk, natural latex and even bamboo. 

SUPPORT Innerspring mattresses provide the best skeletal support and conformance to body shapes during sleep – much more so than mattresses made with foam only. These mattresses feature a network of connected coils that allow pressure points to sink in but provide support to keep the spine from bowing. Innerspring pocket coils feature springs that work independently from one another.

We designed the Eco Kids mattress when we first went looking for the ideal first bed for our toddler, so we know exactly how overwhelming it can seem. Our mattresses were developed with a focus on natural, high-quality materials that would last and provide the healthiest sleeping environment for your child.

With a mission to create the ideal mattress in terms of size, materials, support, comfort and durability, the Eco Kids mattress was born. We’re immensely proud to have made a mattress that provides the very best in support and comfort while utilising environmentally friendly, natural materials, in a design that is specifically designed to help children grow.