There comes a point in every child’s life when he or she needs to make the transition from a cozy cot into a child-sized bed. Most of us sleep better with a number bed and young children are no exception. Cots are great for babies because they keep them safe and secure, but by the time your baby grows into a toddler, he will need a bed all of his own. So if that time has come, here are a few tips to ensure the process is hassle free.
Is Your Toddler Ready to Make the Transition?
Some toddlers are happy to stay in their cot or crib for as long as possible. To them it feels more secure and they don’t want to give up “their” space. But if your toddler is at the point where he is regularly climbing out when nap time is over, then he is definitely ready to transition into a bed. He will also need to make the move if the cot is too small for him and he can’t stretch out properly.
Choose the Right Bed
A full-size single bed is a bit too large for a small toddler. It may also be too high for him, so choose a transitional bed carefully. There are plenty of companies that make smaller toddler beds. These are usually shorter and lower, which for a toddler is perfect.
If you don’t have much money to spend, have a look for a second-hand bed. Since toddler beds are rarely used for more than a few years, there are likely to be plenty of bargains to be had. One thing you should do, however, is buy a new mattress for a second-hand bed because older mattresses may not meet fire regulations.
Your toddler will need new bedding when you upgrade to a proper bed. Sheets and blankets are useful for variable climates, but a duvet is easier if you have a restless toddler who starts off at one end of the bed and wakes up at the other. Let your toddler choose their own bedding. If they want a ‘Frozen’ duvet cover or an ‘X-Men’ throw, go with it. The more appealing their new bed is, the more likely they are to stay in it come lights out.
A Cozy Bedroom
By the time a toddler is ready to transition into a bed, it is probably time to give his bedroom a makeover. If you design a more grown up bedroom, it should last him for many years. Since toddlers are fond of tugging on wallpaper, it is a good idea to paint the walls and stay away from decorative borders, but you can use stencils to paint fun designs. Or you could even have a go at creating a freehand mural if you have artistic leanings.
Late Nights, Early Mornings
The most challenging thing about moving a toddler from a cot to a bed is that he probably won’t stay in his new bed once he wakes up. You may also have a problem getting him to stay in bed when it is bedtime. Having a rock solid bed time routine can make evenings easier, but if early morning wakeup calls are a problem, try and encourage your toddler to play quietly in his room when he first wakes up.
Dealing with Sleep Issues
It is important to be consistent when dealing with sleep problems. If your toddler keeps climbing out of bed at night, firmly take him back and tuck him in. Don’t get into a conversation and keep the lights low. It may take a while, but once he realizes that nothing exciting happens once he goes to bed, he should begin to settle down in his new bed.
Safety is important since toddlers are used to the protection of a cot and are apt to fall out of bed when they first make the transition. Bed guards can prevent this from happening – these are readily available from parent and baby stores, so invest in one when you buy a new bed. Alternatively, place a thick blanket on the floor next to the bed to provide a safe landing until your toddler gets use to his bed.
Most toddlers soon get used to sleeping in a proper bed, but if he takes a while to settle, be patient and try not to get too annoyed. It is a big step for some children, but the more relaxed you are, the easier it will be for them.