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Help Your Child Transition From Cot To Cot Bed

Moving from the cot to the cot bed is a big and exciting step for your toddler. But how do you know when your toddler is ready for the ‘big bed’?

Your child is ready to move from cot to cot bed if they are:

  • Are able to climb out of the cot
  • Waking frequently during the night due to lack of space in the cot

Before The Big Move...

Before moving your child from the cot to cot bed, there are some important sleep habits that must be established that will make the transition much easier:

Your Child Has The Ability To Self-Soothe

This means your child has developed the ability to drift over to sleep independently and when wakes during the night is able to resettle self back to sleep.

Good Sleeping Habits

Up until the age of approximately four years your child will benefit from a day time nap. This will prevent your child’s brain from becoming over tired which contributes to difficulty with drifting over to sleep at night and staying asleep during the night.

Depending on the age of your child, your child can tolerate a certain period of being awake and learning before their little brain becomes over loaded and needs a rest. This is why a day time nap is so important to allow the brain to recharge.

The time of going to bed in the evening is also important for young children, anywhere from 6pm -7pm is the ideal time to help prevent over tiredness kicking in. When a child enters the over tiredness stage they are prone to hyper activity, hyper energy. They appear to be full of energy but rather it is over tiredness which is causing the increase in energy levels. When your child enters this stage, sleep is difficult and will make transitioning to a cot bed very difficult if your child is in this stage when going to bed.

A Regular Bed Time Routine

Consistent bed time routine is also very important. This will help your child unwind and prepare for bed.

Transition To Cot Bed Tips

  • Let your child select new bed linen for the bed and involve your child in preparing his new room.
  • Invest in a side bar to help prevent your child falling out of the bed.
  • Position the cot bed against the wall

Expect the first few nights to be a period of transition and to be unpredictable as it will all be very exciting and your child may become over excited. As a result your child may experience restless nights while he is getting used to sleeping in a larger space. This is why it is important the pre requisites are established.

It is also important to remain consistent about bed time routines to help your child feel secure and associate bedtime routines with going to sleep.

While this can be a time of worry for parents I always reassure parents that with the establishment of the pre requisites and good sleeping habits it won’t be long before your little one is snug asleep is their new cot bed.

Did you find this article helpful? For more informative articles on sleep, go to our Sleep section, where you will lots of useful tips and advice. 

About the Author

Fiona O’Farrell is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, specialising in baby development, premature babies and is an experienced sleep consultant, validated by the department of health. For information on workshops and sleep consultations visit fionaofarrell.ie or Facebook. Call Fiona on 0879144323

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