Although there is no set age for your child to move from a cot to a bed, most children make the move between the 18 months and 3 ½ years of age. There are a number of reasons for doing so:
You should either make the move a month or two before or three or four months after the baby arrives, so your older child has time to adjust.
Frequently a child reaches a point where he is jumping or climbing out of his cot and needs to be switched to a bed to avoid injury.
Many parents choose to make the switch from a cot to a bed when potty training begins, so that their child can get to the toilet when he needs to do so.
Every child is different and some will make a quick adjustment to the change, and some will not. Generally speaking, the easiest child to switch over is the youngest, as they want to be like their older sibling(s) and sleep in a “big” bed. Your eldest may be the most difficult, as they get very attached to their cot and hate to change.
Make sure you put the bed in the same place where you had the cot. Also, make sure you have a guard rail initially to avoid having your child roll over and fall out of his new bed. You can also push the bed against the wall on one side for safety.
There are many ways you can ease the transition for your child. Why not have your child help pick out sheets and covers for their new bed to make it their own personal space. You can even redecorate your child’s room, involving your child in the planning and choosing new pictures, colours, wall coverings, and other updates. Have your child help set up the bed and pack up the cot or get it ready for the new sibling.
If your child asks for it back, remind that it is packed up or not their bed anymore, instead praise them for being grown up and making the move. A bit of reassurance and praise will help them accept the transition. Help them understand that the new bed will soon be familiar and comfortable. Finding a way to celebrate the move can work really well. A family picnic or a special party is an excellent way to make the transition full of fun memories and if your child is anxious, acknowledge and address their fears
You could install a night-light or give them extra toys. I provided my children with oversized stuffed animals as their guardians. Your child may have a familiar toy or special blanket that provides reassurance.
A move from a cot to a bed can be difficult. If they keep getting out of bed, provide love and reassurance and take them back to bed. Give hugs and kisses; tell them, “Goodnight.” It may take a few nights of following a regular bedtime routine and offering encouragement, but staying calm and loving will help your child through this transition.
Moving your child from a cot to a bed is one of the first steps in a long line of experiences as your child grows. Laying a foundation of loving consistency is the key to helping your child with this transition and the many that will follow.