Having recently moved AJ into a big bed I thought I would share some of the simple, practical things we have done to make the transition from cot to bed easier for both our girls. While these ideas certainly aren’t rocket science, it can be the little things that make all of the difference to changes in routine for children and I hope by sharing them I might help another family about to undertake the big transition from cot to bed.
1. Involve your child in choosing their bed and/or some bed linen to help them feel a sense of ownership and control over the process of moving to a bed.
2. When you are ready, begin by stick to your regular bed time routine but start a little earlier for at least the first few nights to give you extra time to settle your child into their bed without feeling rushed or with you feeling overly concerned with how late it is.
3. A pool noodle tucked under the fitted bed sheet along the open side of the bed acts as a great temporary bed rail. It’s not necessarily going to stop them falling out of bed if they are a big time roller, as the noodle can move around under the sheet, but it is worth a try if you are concerned about them falling out of bed, and it’s a good deal cheaper than a bed rail.
4. Turn the top sheet sideways so that you have extra length to tuck your child in securely. This will help them to feel safe and secure and also help reduce the likelihood of them rolling out of bed.
5. Keep the area beside the bed clear of furniture. You might be planning to use a bedside table but I would suggest waiting until your child is used to sleeping in their bed before moving furniture into the immediate area next to the bed. Immy only rolled out once and it was a good 3 weeks or so after we he moved her into her big bed. Unfortunately we had just moved a small bookcase next to the bed (thinking that she was not going to roll out if she hadn’t already!) and she gave her head a good bump as she fell!
6. Place the cot mattress on the floor alongside the bed so if they do roll out it will provide a softer landing (and it also provides a soft place for you to sit or lay as you are resettling your child during the night).
7. We have found a sleep training clock (we use the Gro Clock) to be really helpful with both our girls as it has provided them with a clear indication of when it is okay for them to come out of their bedroom in the morning.
So that is what has helped make our transition as smooth as it can possibly be. Moving to a big bed might not have been the miracle cure for a sleep all through the night that I secretly hoped for but AJ is staying in and sleeping in her bed all night, albeit with her regular wake ups with calls for Mummy. But hey, she won’t be doing that when she’s 21, will she?
What was your experience moving your child from a cot into a bed? Any useful tips for others planning to take the big bed step?