From cot to big bed: 5 top transition tips

 Last week’s post about amazing toddler bed and tent ideas proved to be a popular read and it got us thinking. It’s all very well having the ultimate setting to move your little one into but what happens if they HATE IT?? There was only one person to call with this question and that’s sleep guru Nicola Watson of Child Sleep Solutions who has helped countless families regain sanity when sleep patterns go wonky. She’s kindly shared her 5 top transition tips to help anyone out there who is considering the big move.

Nicola says; “the move from a cot to a bed is one that faces all parents at some point and it can cause a lot of angst.  Parents wonder when they ‘should’ be moving their little one though there is really no right answer.  Most children make the move at some point between 18 months and 3 ½ years and the reasons vary.  It might be that your little one has out grown their cot, or maybe they want to be more independent like an older sibling; the most pressing reason is that they have learnt to climb out of their cot, something that can be pretty dangerous! 

Before making the move ensure that the new room is safe and anywhere that your little one can access from the bedroom is also safe, just in case they decide that they can creep out of bed at 3am and have an explore!

Whatever the reason make the move when it feels right for you and your little one and use these top 5 tips to ensure you don’t run into trouble!

  1. Choose an otherwise calm time in their lives with no other big disruptions such as starting nursery, potty training or the arrival of a new sibling.  It’s also best to ensure that they are healthy and well so they don’t have to make the adjustment while feeling below par.
  2. Make sure that your little one is familiar with the room and has spent time in there alone and involve them in the adjustments!  Let them choose their new duvet cover and decide where the bed should go whilst making the whole move sound exciting and positive.  If they are especially sensitive a new cuddly toy to take to the new bed with them to keep them company can help them feel more secure.  As well as these new purchases make sure that there are some familiar things with them such as an old comforter, a familiar pillow or attach a familiar cot toy to the new bed.
  3. It sounds silly but don’t tell them that they can get out!!  A lot of little ones do not realise that they can actually climb freely out of bed now and still lay in bed waiting for a parent to come and get them up!  It’s best not to put the idea into their head just in case!
  4. Keep to the same routine as you have always kept to; the bedtime routine is your best friend in this transition – if you keep to the exact same predictable bedtime routine the transition will be easier for you and your little one.
  5. If your little one is nervous and feels too anxious to stay alone in their new bed sit with them at first but with little interaction and limited dialogue until they settle.  You can then move a little further away towards the door every few nights to allow them to adjust to settling in their new bed alone.  If however, your little one is seeing this as an opportunity to party and run riot stay firm from the very first night; return them to bed with clear, concise instruction as many times as it takes for them to decide they might as well go to sleep!  You need to start as you mean to go on and don’t let bad habits develop!

Nicola has a BA (Hons) in Social Science and Psychology as well as training with the MNT training school at Reading University as a Child Sleep Consultant.  She is a member of the professional body the British Sleep Society and the Sleep Professionals Association. For more information about Nicola and the services she provides go to or call 0208 8511454.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post