Tips for moving to a big-kid bed

by | May 5, 2018 | Sleep Consultant

Tips for moving to a big-kid bed

If you’re thinking about moving your child out of their cot, read on for some tips for moving to a big-kid bed. You may have previously read my things to consider before making the transition from cot to bed, and decided that the time is now right. So you’ll want to make the transition go as smoothly as possible. Here are the tips:

Tip 1:   The closer your child is to age three, the better.I know I’ve said it before, but it can make all the difference. Anything younger than two-and-a-half is a bit too early in my opinion. Very young children don’t have the cognitive ability to really understand the boundaries and expectations around staying in bed when they can so easily get out on their own. This can make it hard to enforce the rules and can create power struggles and other issues.

Tip 2:   Start as you mean to go on. – If you’re actually purchasing a bed to replace the cot, it’s worth considering the long-term plan. Where do you want them to end up? Yes pink carriages or racing car toddler beds are cute, but your child will outgrow them pretty quickly. And then it’s another change you all have to deal with. You also need to look for practicality and function. If you have the room, king-single beds are worth the purchase. They’re spacious enough so your child is unlikely to fall out (as easily). And the extra room means you can easily sit next to them and read books during the bedtime routine.

Tip 3:   Make it fun, but not too fun.You can definitely get your child involved with picking out the new bed and choosing new bedding, but it’s a delicate balance. You don’t want to make too big of a deal about it because you don’t want to put added pressure on the child. If he gets really excited about the process he might have a hard time settling in and actually going to sleep!

Tip 4:   Beware of the “honeymoon” phase. Most toddlers do well with the transition to start with, but then the fun wears off. Once the novelty is gone and your child gets comfortable (usually around the three-week mark) then the games usually start. The key is to be prepared ahead of time so you know what to do when this happens.

What to do if your child keeps getting out of bed

If the honeymoon has worn off, or if your child just never warmed up to the idea of a bed at all, there are a couple of things you can do.

Firstly, remaining consistent is important. If your child gets out of bed and comes to find you, take him back to bed immediately. Even if he says he just needs another hug, or a glass of water, or something to eat (if you’ve been here, you know how the excuses escalate very quickly). Don’t waver on this, or he will get out of bed every few minutes to ask you for something else. Just take him back to bed, and if he does it again, give him a consequence.

You can also offer a reward to your child. If your child can stay in his bed until morning, he can have a prize or a treat. The reward needs to be as immediate as possible for this age group, or else they won’t be motivating at all.

Soon enough your child will become used to the idea of sleeping in a proper bed. It gets easier. He will understand that just because there are no bars holding him in at bedtime, this doesn’t mean he’s free to wander wherever he likes.

Just like most things parenting, it will take a little persistence on your part, but before you know it, your child will be sleeping peacefully in his big-kid bed, all night long. Have you made the move? How did it go?

If you’ve made the move and your child is still struggling to sleep all night long, please get in touch. Book in for a free initial phone call and we can discuss how you can help guide your child towards better sleep. I’d love the opportunity to help!

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