How to Successfully Transition Your Child from a Cot to a Bed

How to Successfully Transition Your Child from a Cot to a Bed

One of the biggest challenges new parents face is getting their child to sleep through the night. Even the most seemingly put-together parents have had periods of surviving on coffee, wearily trudging through the days. Therefore, disrupting your little one’s routine by moving them from a cot to bed may feel daunting. 

Eventually, you must take the plunge, but it needn’t be a big ordeal. Transitioning from a cot to a bed may have some challenges, but changing to a bigger bed increases your child’s independence and safety at night. 

With this Nöa & Nani guide, transitioning your child from cot to bed won’t seem as daunting!

a young child plays with a ball on a bed

Signs your child is ready for a bigger bed

Anywhere from 18 months onwards, your toddler might start showing signs that they need to transition to a bigger bed. Some things you might notice are:

  • They are getting too big to sleep comfortably in their cot. 
  • They can climb out of their cot.
  • They are nearly toilet trained and need to be able to go to the toilet at night.

Another reason you might be keen to transition your toddler into a bigger bed is that you need the cot for a new arrival! If this is the case, it is important to time the transition correctly. Start to gently make the move a few months before your new baby arrives so your toddler doesn’t feel like they’re being kicked out of their space for their new sibling. 

The arrival of a new baby can be tricky for toddlers, so moving them into their new space gives them time to settle and adjust before another new change comes into play. 

a pregnant woman stands over an empty cot with two soft toys in it

Bedroom safety 

The safety of your little one’s room is of the utmost importance, especially now they can move freely around the space. Some precautions to make the room a safe space for your toddler include:

  • Ensuring they can’t get at any cables or sockets.
  • Placing the bed against a wall so they are less likely to fall out of it.
  • Clearing small toys or any clutter from the floor at night so they don’t trip over.
  • Ensure any windows, blinds or curtain cords are out of your child's reach.
  • Installing a baby gate on their bedroom door or at the top of the stairs. 

Choosing the right bed

Selecting the right bed for your little one to move into might feel daunting, but don’t worry. With our tips and tricks, you’ll find the perfect bed in no time. 

Choose a firm mattress

A firmer mattress is recommended for little ones as it greatly supports their spinal alignment during key growth periods. We recommend our Jax Single Mattress for little ones transitioning to their first big bed. The high-density foam is easy to clean for potential mishaps, provides support no matter their sleep position, and has an easily removable cover. Check out our Nöa & Nani Kids Mattress Guide for more guidance on children's mattresses. 

a white mattress with a soft toy whale on top and someone's hand pressing down on it

Don’t let little ones under 2 sleep with pillows or heavy duvets 

Though it’s a scary thought, pillows and other heavy duvets or blankets can be a suffocation risk. If your little one is moving to a bed before age two, you shouldn’t give them a pillow to sleep with until they get older. When the time comes to introduce a pillow, don’t give them one from your bed. Instead, opt for a toddler-friendly pillow, which tends to be smaller, flatter and firmer. 

Choose a bed that is low to the floor

For obvious reasons, it’s best to choose a bed that is low to the floor for your child’s first “grown-up” bed. Our recommendations are the Larson Single Bed and the Linnea Single Bed. Both these beds are low to the floor with a mature design that will suit your child as they grow.  

The Larson Single Bed

The Linnea Single Bed

Involving your child 

Another way to ease the transition for your toddler is to get them involved with the process. Let them know a few weeks before what will happen, making it feel like an exciting new step. A few more nice ideas to help them feel at ease are: 

  • Let them pick out a set of sheets or blankets for their new bed, maybe with their favourite character on. 
  • Let them choose what soft toys they want on their bed.
  • Celebrate the move with a special treat - a day out or a new toy.
  • Involve them in building the new bed and packing away the old cot.
  • Remind them you’re proud of them for being big and brave through this change. 

A top tip for making the transition even more gradual is to let your little one have their daytime naps in the new bed but sleep in their cot at night. This allows them to adjust to the new bed before moving full-time. 

Nighttime routine

Maintaining a familiar bedtime routine is important for transitioning your toddler into their new bed. Ensure their room is peaceful and free of clutter that could be a tripping hazard. If they have a nightlight or similar sleeping aids, ensure these are kept the same. Additionally, try positioning the new bed where their cot was for increased familiarity. 

Common challenges 

As with most parenting tasks, there will surely be a few stumbling blocks when transitioning your child from a cot to a bed. The key is to remain patient and empathetic to your child’s feelings. 

Reassurance is key

Your child may get up in the night a lot at first. In this case, take them back to bed, reassure them and say goodnight. This might happen multiple times initially, so remain patient and remember this is a big change for them.

Avoid punishment

As we mentioned, patience is key to making this transition successful. It can feel frustrating if your little one is initially unsettled, especially if they previously had a settled sleep schedule. However, it's important to remain patient and avoid punishing them for seeking reassurance. This will just increase their anxiety and give their new bed negative connotations. Positive reinforcement and reassurance is the best way to go. 

Support your child’s development with Nöa & Nani

At Nöa & Nani, we have an extensive selection of kid’s beds and mattresses, including kids' single beds, ideal for little ones making the change from a cot, cabin beds, bunk beds and many more. As your child grows, you will have more options when it comes to their sleeping arrangements. Our guides, including Cabin Bed vs Single Bed, Which Is Better? help you make an informed decision and find the best bed for your little one. 

More from Nöa & Nani

The Parent’s Guide to Kid’s Cabin Beds

The Parent’s Guide to Bunk Beds

The Ultimate Guide to Children’s Bed Sizes

Article by Mickey Bryant