Four things to consider when moving to a big-kid bed
Making the switch from a cot to a bed is a sure sign your child is growing up. It’s a pretty big milestone, and it can come with mixed feelings, for parents and children alike. So how do you know when it’s time to give up the cot and move to a bed? Here are four things to consider before you give up the cot and make the move to a big-kid bed.
1. The age of your child
The closer your child is to three years of age, the better. Yes, I said three years, not two. This is when “early to bed” isn’t always the best option.
While it might seem okay to move a child to a bed any time from eighteen months on, in my opinion, anything younger than two-and-a-half is a little too early. Young children don’t have the cognitive ability to easily understand the boundaries and the expectation of staying in bed; there’s very little impulse control at 2 years and below. So if they think about getting out, and it’s easily done, chances are they’ll do it. This sometimes creates power struggles and other issues that make it hard to enforce the rules. And that can lead to lengthy bedtime battles. Something you certainly don’t want!
Some toddlers are little monkeys, and they figure out that the cot makes a great jungle gym. Some are pretty skilled at it, but if they start throwing themselves off the edge, it can become a safety issue. There are some tricks to help stop the cot jumping in a younger child, but if this is what’s happening regularly in your household with a toddler close to two years of age, it can be worth making the transition.
3. Sleep Problems
A lot of people think that if their child isn’t happy in a cot, then moving to a big bed may solve the problem. Unfortunately it can often make matters worse. It helps to solve any sleep issues first. When they’ve been happy in the cot for over a month, and they’re old enough, then that’s the time to move them to a bed.
4. New Siblings
So you have a two year old and a new baby on the way. Congratulations! Maybe you think an early transition clears the way to use the cot for baby #2 (or #3). But do you really want to be chasing your child back to bed when you’re heavily pregnant? Think about it, do you really need the big cot as soon as your baby is born? A bassinet could be a much better option.
It actually makes sense to hang onto the cot for your older child as long as possible. When a new baby is on the scene, there will likely be a regression in one of two things, either potty training or sleep. And if your child is comfortable in their cot, it’s one less change they have to adjust to because of the new baby. Ideally, wait until 3 months after the newborn arrives, and then when they’re feeling more comfortable make the switch. Bonus, your toddler is older and also comfortable having their new brother or sister around.
Really, there is no rush. It usually becomes pretty clear when your child is ready for a bed. If he’s happy in the cot and not trying to jump out headfirst, then by all means, keep him in the cot. But if your child is a little escape artist and doesn’t seem happy to be confined anymore, it might be time to move to a bed.
And if you’re having issues around your child’s sleep (either before or after the transition), please book in a free 15 minute initial call so we can discuss your family’s situation. I’d love to help!