When your toddler either begins to climb out of their cot or needs to be able to leave their bed to use the potty, it is time to move from a cot to a bed. The transition from the familiar safety of the cot to a larger bed can be a bit scary for your toddler. Here are some suggestions for how you can move your toddler smoothly from a cot to a bed.
Make the Transition to the Bed Slowly
If you have the space to do so, set up the bed a few weeks before you plan to move your toddler. Make the bed up so it appears inviting. Encourage your little one to sit on the bed to play. Cuddling up in the new bed to read a good book before bedtime will also help your child become familiar with the feel of the new bed. If possible, have your toddler nap in the new bed. Explain they can climb out by themselves when they wake up to come and see you.
When they are ready, have them spend the night in the big bed. If you wish, you can leave the cot in the room for a week or so. If your child comes to see you in the middle of the night, return them to the new bed calmly, give them a hug, and leave. This may be necessary for several nights, but they will stop once they are used to the new bed.
Involve Your Toddler in the Move
Make sure they are present when you assemble and make up the new, bigger bed. You may wish to take them shopping to help you pick out the new bedding. Once you have assembled the new bed, have them put some of their toys and stuffed animals on the new bed. Familiar belongings will help them accept the new bed as theirs.
Have them show off the new bed to other family members and anyone who visits your house. Talk about the move with excitement and enthusiasm. Your attitude about the new bed will have a great deal to do with their acceptance of the change.
Prepare the Bed for Safety
Your toddler is used to rolling around in the cot, but doing so in a bigger bed can result in tumbling out the side. Either place one side of the bed against the wall with a safety guard on the other side or have guards on both sides. Placing the mattress from the cot next to the bed gives them a soft place to land if you do not have safety guards.
This is also an important time to make sure nightlights provide a clear path to the bathroom for mid night potty visits. Not only do you wish to provide for the physical safety of your toddler, but you also want to make sure they feel safe and secure.
Keep Your Bedtime Routine
While your toddler is transitioning from the cot to the bed, maintain your regular bedtime routine. Doing so will help them feel comfortable with the change. When you remove the cot, put the bed in the same location so that your toddler will have the same, familiar view of the room.
It should only take a month or so for your toddler to get used to the new bed. With some preparation, patience, and the suggestions provided, your toddler will move smoothly from cot to bed.