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Is It Time for a Big Bed?

anna williams
baby talk

Baby consultant ANNA WILLIAMS offers advice to parents of little ones

I was once asked by a mum with a toddler “When should we move him into a bed? He still seems to like his cot, but he’s always climbing out of it!!”

I said now would be a good time. There’s not much point in still using a cot when a child is scaling the top rail every night and setting himself up for a fall and a possible injury.

Ages for graduating to a bigger bed can vary, depending on each child. Some two year olds are still content to sleep in their cots and don’t feel the need to escape. On the other hand, I’ve seen a 14 month old who began to hate being confined, but when his parents moved him into a bed, he settled off to sleep much more happily.

When parents feel the time has come, I suggest several things.

A toddler bed can be a good transition after the cot. However a normal bed is often the only option for some families. If there’s enough space, keep the cot set up as well and use the bed just for day sleeps to begin with. You can lie down beside your toddler and read a story, so the bed becomes a fun, snuggly place. Doing this also helps set the scene once they’re using the bed to go to sleep at night - having the reassurance of mum or dad’s company for a little while comforts and calms them as drowsiness sets in.

One side of the bed should ideally be up against a wall, in a corner, to give a feeling of security.

Put a small mattress or a couple of cushions on the floor, on the outer side, just in case your child does accidentally roll out when they’re sleeping. At least it makes a soft landing!

Being in a bed does allow a lot more freedom to get up, so some nights, “curtain calls” are inevitable. Be consistently firm and take them back to bed each time and hopefully they get tired of playing that game before you do!

Let them have a night light on in their room, or leave the hallway light on with the door open.

Young children have extremely active imaginations and a totally dark room can be very scary for them.

Most importantly, if another baby is on the way, make the change to a big bed for your toddler well ahead. That way, he/she won’t feel like they’ve been displaced when the new baby arrives.



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