Tips for transitioning from cot to bed

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Some time between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, your child will be ready to make the move from baby cot to ג€˜grown up’ bed. Perhaps his growth will indicate it’s time for a change, or maybe he’s simply too old or active to be contained behind bars. Particularly when young adventurers start to scale the sides of their cots and careen precariously over the top to be met with bumps, bruises and worse, you know it’s time to make the transition.

ג€˜Upgrading’ like this will often mean more to the parents than it does to the child. You’re likely to be worried about safety first and foremost, as bars are no longer present to prevent your child from rolling out of bed in the middle of the night. Relax. If you’re worried about him waking up, well he was only going to do that anyway if he crashed into the bars of his cot! Additionally, remember you’re also waving goodbye to all the inherent dangers of bars and bumpers (such as getting stuck in them), which is a good thing.

Always place the new bed in the same position as the cot was. Even if you have plans to move furniture around in the long run, initially it’s important for your child to feel as ג€˜normal’ as possible. As far as cushioning potential falls goes, there are a couple of things you can do as a preventative measure.

1. Buy a bed guard ג€“ a bit like the arm of a chair, this will provide a barrier to stop your child falling out, while still allowing him the freedom of getting out of bed independently when awake. Of course it’s not going to help as much for those children who naturally wriggle down towards the bottom of the bed during the night, but it’s a start, and as your child becomes accustomed to the new shape and size of his bed, accidents should be less frequent.

2. Place a spare duvet, pillows or cushions by the side of the bed to soften any falls. Gradually your child will get his bearings and these will no longer be needed.

For a child who is reluctant to leave the familiarity of his cot, you can make the transition gradual, by first removing the bars of the cot and lowering the base to its lowest setting, and then when the new bed arrives, use all the same bedding that he’s used to. If he sleeps in a sleeping bag, don’t change that now; let him adjust to the new bed first. Line up any beloved cuddly toys along the new bed exactly as you would in the cot. Having a dim nightlight on while he adjusts to his new setting might also soothe your child.

For a child who needs a little gentle encouragement, then why not involve him in choosing the new bed linen for his room? Perhaps he has a favourite animal or cartoon character that could be incorporated into Mum’s carefully chosen colour scheme, and make him feel just that little bit more special.

One important thing to note is never to move your child reluctantly out of his cot simply because there is a new baby on the way. Some children need extra time to adjust and changing because of a newcomer is only going to give reason for resentment. Bear this in mind with your timings if at all possible.

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