For many young children, sleeping in a crib or cot has been their habit since birth. Transitioning to a bed can cause some anxiety, as bedtime is often surrounded by rituals and traditions. Here are some ideas for making the move to cot to bed easier for the child and the parents.
A bed that is too big may seem scary after the small confines of a cot. A bed that is too high off the ground may seem ominous because there is a larger space beneath it to harbor monsters and other imaginary, nightmarish creatures. If at all possible, your child should be involved in selecting his or her new bed. What may seem perfectly ordinary to adults may appear intimidating or frightening to a small child.
Sometimes, a child's generous nature can be used to help ease the transition. If another child in the family needs the cot, the idea of giving away their old cot as a gift may be just the thing to encourage a child to move on to a 'big kid' bed. This idea can be introduced months ahead of the gift, to give the child ample time to accept the idea.
Some parents decide to simply put a bed in their child's room alongside the cot. This allows the child to make his or her own decision about when to move on to sleeping in the bed. Parents may tell the child it is okay to sleep in the cot or the bed. Allowing the child to make the decision can help the child feel in control, and he or she may decide to move on to the bed immediately. Other kids may be more reticent and spend some time playing on the bed or decorating it with their stuffed animals before sleeping on it.
Some parents will allow a child to nap on their own bed when it's nearly time for a child to transition to a bed. Most kids will prefer the plush softness of a real mattress, and the fact that it is mummy and daddy's bed, as opposed to a 'strange' one, may make the child eager for his or her own bed. Parents can talk about how comfortable and warm their bed is, and how nice it feels to sleep on it each night.
Most kids love receiving presents, so time the acquisition of a bed to coincide with a birthday or other gift-giving holiday. Bedding adorned with the child's favorite cartoon character or favorite colors can make the occasion all the more festive. Be creative and make receiving a bed a really big deal!
Not every child will respond positively from moving from a crib or cot to sleeping on a bed. These strategies can help ease the transition and make the experience positive and fun without stressing the child or the parents.
Please be aware that the articles on this site are written by mothers who are discussing their own experiences and their own opinions. They do not, and are not meant to, represent professional advice and should be read with that point firmly in mind.
Our children’s welfare is paramount; if you are ever in the slightest doubt about any aspect of caring for a child you are urged to seek qualified, specialist advice from a professional advisor.