Considering making the move into the big bed?
How can you be sure when the time is right..? Once this change is made there is no going back so we must plan this one carefully.
This transition to the big bed often happens too soon for little ones and I typically have clients who have done it thinking it would solve their bedtime battles, but mostly it just changes the battle, it doesn’t remove it.
Parents often assume that a child attempting to get out of their cot means they are ready to be in a bed, but they are not the same thing. A child who tries to get out of a cot can definitely get out of bed and will likely try to do so.
We may feel pressure because we know that children of a similar age have done it the transition may look like it has gone well but it just means that their little ones have not yet had the light bulb moment where they realise they can make their great escape.
Personalities matter too… an alert child may feel more unsettled by the move and respond by getting out of the bed. Laid back children may just not care that they can get out. My laid back youngest has got to 4.5 and has never dreamt of leaving his bed by himself whether morning or middle of the night. Quite frankly he is too lazy to get out when he can just call me instead.
It is best to wait to as near to 3 years old as you can get.
Children can’t even cognitively understand the principle of staying in bed till at least 2.5 yrs old, so if you do it before that and they start getting out of bed, it will be difficult to teach them that they have to stay in the bed as they just can’t understand. So, it’s tough for you, and a big ask for them.
Since cot climbing is a common trigger, here a few things to try before giving up.
- Sleep Sacs / Gro Sacs are brilliant as they stop littlies getting that climbing leg over the sides of the cot.
- Some parents also worry about the sleeping bags as they think children will trip in them as they stand or walk in the cot, but there are some bags that have feet in them. They have a foot hold and can move their feet comfortably, but they are still essentially in a bag that restricts the climbing.
- It’s always worth covering the floor with a soft landing/ mattress etc just in case. It gives you peace of mind that they will be safe, whilst trying to encourage them to stay in the cot. If they do get out then they are still protected.
If and when the time has come, then engage your child in the process of choosing where the bed will go, what bedclothes they will have, moving toys into the bed etc so that it makes a place that your little one will be enthusiastic about and want to stay in.
By Certified Sleep Nanny Consultant, Jacqueline Kirk.
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