I get asked advice on this topic very often and decided to compile all my tips and tricks of moving a toddler to a big bed. I have successful transitioned both Declan and Leah to beds at a young age and it was extremely beneficial for their sleeping patterns as well as mine!
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME
Plan the move during a stable time in your family life. Moving to a new bed can be very stressful for you and your little one, so its best to plan the move for when there are no other changes happening. Also choose a time when they are not sick or teething.
I often get asked what age is the best and this is a difficult question to answer as I believe it will be different for every child, but generally between the ages of 12-36 months.
We transitioned Declan at the age of 20 months and Leah at 15 months. I waited until I though they were ready for this move and also when our family was ready. Each child is different. We waited slightly longer with Declan as he was still happy sleeping in his cot. When we tried moving him at 18 months, he just didn’t have it so we left his new bed in his room for him to get used to the idea. With Leah I knew she was ready sooner as she just wasn’t happy in her cot anymore and she is a climber so I was super afraid of her climbing out and hurting herself.
MAKE THE TRANSITION GRADUAL
Some children will be quite happy to wave goodbye to their cot and never look back, but others will cope better if you do the move over in stages. Consider starting with daytime naps in the big bed, sleeping in the cot only at night. Or have your little one spend a few nights sleeping on the cot mattress on the floor beside the bed before making the final move.
Whichever route you choose, stick to your toddler’s usual bedtime routine.
WHAT SIZE AND STYLE BED SHOULD YOU GET
Again this is will be different for every child, but I would suggest going for a montessori , floor style bed as they can be very beneficial for your little ones development.
The biggest benefit of a floor bed is that it helps the child be more independent. This is the reason why Montessori encourages a floor bed. If your child wakes up early from their nap, she can get out and play quietly. This is important for her own development and independence, to be able to make their own choices, within reason. A floor style bed also encourage your child to listen to their bodies own natural cues. Once we made the move for Declan he actually starting walking to his own bed and going to sleep when he felt tired #momwin
As far as size goes, this is dependant on how big your child’s room is and what your preferences is. Declan is currently sleeping in a single bed and Leah a toddler bed. We chose a toddler sized bed for Leah as she was younger than Declan when we moved her. Our toddler beds at Declan & Leah are also based on actual Toddler sizes and not cot sizes, so it fits a mattress of 140cm x 70cm , which is suitable for children until age 4.
Your toddler will no longer be confined to the safety of the their cot, so reassess your home for potential dangers.
If the new bed has no sides, you can install bed rails to keep them contained.
Install a baby gate at the bedroom door. (Check that your toddler can’t use his cot-climbing skills on these gates.)
Check that all plug points are covered, tidy up electrical cords and wind up blind cords that could be a strangling hazard.
Secure items of furniture which your toddler could pull over, such as book and toy shelves, secure these to the wall with brackets.
Check that windows, especially upstairs windows, can’t be opened wide enough for your toddler to fall out.
So I hope this has prepared you for the move from cot to big bed or answered some of your questions. If you have questions send me a email or leave a comment below.