When your child looks to be successfully escaping from their cot, it’s time to move to a bed!
Usually toddlers are ready to move when they are two to three-and-a-half years old, but some are ready as early as 18 months.
Here are a few options if you think your toddler is ready to move to a bed:
- Set up a floor mattress for your toddler to sleep on. Position the mattress away from the walls to ensure your child doesn’t accidentally get stuck between the mattress and the wall. Remove any soft objects, toys or cords hanging around the bed to prevent suffocation.
- Use a toddler bed. Because of its low height, a toddler bed will reduce the risk of injuries. You can also use the same mattress and bedding from the original cot.
If you decide to use an adult-height bed, you may want to think about how to set it up to minimise danger to your toddler. If your child falls out of bed they are at a higher risk of injury or getting trapped between the bed and the wall.
To ensure the bed is safe for your toddler, make sure there are no spaces between bars or panels bigger than ninety-five millimetres – the idea is to have no space in which they can get their head, legs, arms or fingers trapped.
To prevent injury from a potential fall, ensure the floor is made of soft material, like carpet or a rug, not floorboards or tiles. Alternatively you can remove any furniture or hard toys from around the bed and place a mattress there.
Give support to your child
Some toddlers can find moving into a new bed scary and or upsetting. Here are some tips to help make sure that the move from the cot to a bed is a success for you and your child:
- give lots of praise to your toddler – make sure they know that it is a positive change using phrases such as ‘now you’re using a big kid’s bed’
- communicate the plan to your toddler when they are moving into the new bed from going to buy the bed and then setting up the new bed – make sure your toddler feels involved
- have ‘quiet time’ before bed
- make sure they can arrange the bed how they want to
- take something from the old cot and put it in the new bed to make sure it feels a little familiar
- before you leave the room, say goodnight and be sure to let your child know what is going to happen for example, say ‘it’s now bedtime – have a good sleep – I will see you in the morning!’