The first thing that many new parent question; particularly if it is their first born, is when you should move your child out of a cot and into a bed. The answer to this is that it is all dependent on your child and how you feel as a parent. The majority of children tend to make the move between eighteen months and three years, but that is not to say that they should make it sooner or later. Just bear in mind the safety of your child at all times. If they are beginning to climb out of their cot, or look like they are trying to, it might be time to reconsider your options. It could be dangerous if your child is able to climb out during the night, as they have the potential to hurt themselves. If they are sleeping in something that is visibly too small for them, it will also become uncomfortable; this is definitely something that will need to be addressed.
There are many different reasons why you might need to move your child into a bed as opposed to a cot. One of the more common reasons, is if you have a new sibling for your child on the way and they will need to cot. Remember that suddenly having a new baby brother or sister may be confusing for your child, so it is best that you make the transition a few weeks in advance so they have time to get used to their bed; because, let’s face it, you will have enough on your hands when you have a new baby, that you do not want your older child to feel unsettled in their new bed. It will also prevent them from feeling like they have been pushed out of their old bed because of the baby. All things that can make a child feel incredibly unsettled and nervous.
If you have a child that is particularly nervous about moving from their cot into their bed, try and make the transition as comforting as you possibly can. After all, it is understandable that they might feel ever so slightly nervous as it is where they have felt safe and warm every night for their whole life. If you can, try and bring any blankets and toys from their cot into their new bed, so they can still associate the smell and feel with their cot. If it is possible, try and put the bed in the same spot that the cot was in. This means that should your child wake up in the middle of the night they will not feel scared. You can often become disorientated when you first wake up, even as an adult, and you do not want to distress your child even more by waking up in an unfamiliar bed, with unfamiliar surroundings. If the bed is in the same place as the cot, if they do wake up, their surroundings will still be the same, which should reassure them somewhat. Introduce your child to their new bed before they are expected to sleep in it. Tell them that is their grown up bed, and make it seem exciting to them, so they are looking forward to sleeping in it. It might also be worth getting them to help choose it, so they feel like they have had some sort of impact. It is little things like this that are likely to make the child feel more reassured and safer when the time comes for them to sleep in their bed. Praise them when they have spent the first night there as well, so they know that if they do that, they will be praised for it. They will be more inclined to stay there during the night and not get out.
One of the most important things to consider when buying your child their first bed is the safety element. There are many different styles of bed that you can buy, but all should have some form of safety rail installed; even if their beds are very close to the ground. Many people go straight from a cot, to an ordinary bed, and bypass the toddler bed stage thinking that they are a waste of money; however, they really do have their advantages. They have been specifically designed for the transition period and know what a toddler requires. Toddlers have very fragile bones and can cause a lot of damage to themselves should they fall out of bed, so it is imperative that you have considered this, particularly if the bed is high. If you are still deciding on bypassing a bed that has been designed for a toddler, it is advisable that you purchase guard rails that you can attach to any bed to prevent them from rolling out in the night.
Finally, make it fun for them. As they get older, their room will mean more and more to them, so make it a safe and fun environment for them. There are so many different styles of bed that are perfect for young children that have built in dens underneath, or have a particular theme to them. Look at the bed as an investment piece, as many toddler beds will last longer than it is often thought, as they can be adapted. For example, a bed with a den area, can be transformed into a study area, as opposed to a play area when the child starts school, or becomes a little older. Having a bed with something added to it as well is an excellent way of making your child excited about moving into it, which will make the transition a lot easier.
Choosing the right bed for your young child doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Ultimately it is a personal choice, and as their parent, you are going to know what they need more than anyone else, so do what you think is best for your child. Make the move as relaxing and reassuring as you can, and most importantly make it fun for them.