Tips for parents: moving your child from cot to bed
For parents of young children, the topic of sleep is a serious BBQ stopper.
Many worry about ‘getting it right’ for their kids. Others just want to get a bit of shut-eye themselves.
When to make the move from a cot to a bed?
There’s no ‘set time’ for the changeover. It’s often somewhere between the ages of 2 and 3 ½ that people move their child from a cot to a ‘big-boy’s/girl’s bed.
The main reasons parents decide to make the move are:
- Their little darling is a climber and they’re worried they might fall as they attempt to climb out of their cot
- Their child is toilet-training, and it’s easier for them to get out of a bed when nature calls
- They’re expecting another baby and need the cot for the new bub
- Their child is simply getting ‘too big’ for a cot.
Choosing the right bed for your child
The three most important factors when considering a bed for your young child are safety, comfort and longevity.
1. Keeping your child safe
Safety is top-of-mind for every parent. Parents worry that once their child is no longer safely confined to their cot, there’s an increased risk of injury.
- To avoid kids falling out of bed, some parents start by placing their child’s mattress on the floor.
- Once you make the move to a bed-frame, Australian consumer organisation Choice suggests you install a well-designed bed-rail. This can provide a bit of security for your child – and peace of mind for you. The best ones are made of mainly mesh material.
- Make sure there’s no risk that your child can get any part their body trapped between the bed-rail and the bedhead, or the side of the bed. Also avoid any dangling cords or strings that your child could get caught up in.
- Bunk beds can be dangerous for small children who naturally love to climb. Best to avoid them until they’re a bit older (around 9 years).
2. Making your child’s bed comfortable
Your child’s health depends on them getting a good night’s sleep. And just as a comfortable and supportive mattress helps adults sleep, children also benefit from a good mattress.
An old, sagging mattress is the worst thing for your child’s growing body. The best mattress should offer good support – not too soft or too firm.
You might find yourself cuddling them to sleep, so that will also give you a chance to test the mattress’s comfort. If you’re not sure, it’s great to order a mattress that has a lengthy return period just in case. (Order your SleepX mattress online, and you’ll have 120 nights to try it out.)
Your child’s pillow should have a low profile to comfortably support their head and neck.
3. Making your child’s bed go the distance
If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to choose a bed-base and mattress that’s going to last a while. Most parents opt for a single or king-single sized mattress.
A good quality mattress should last around 10 years.
Making the move from cot to bed a smooth one
Of course, just because you decide it’s time to move your child to a bed, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
The move can be unsettling for many kids. They may need a bit of extra encouragement.
- Try involving them in the choice of new sheets and doona covers
- Do a bit of redecorating to celebrate their transition – and involve them so they can choose their favourite poster or wall-paint colour
- Let them know how proud you are about their move
- Install a night-light if they feel a little anxious and reassure them that you’re always close
- Make sure they still have their favourite toys or special blanket handy
- Keep to their usual sleep routine – and lots of kisses and cuddles
For more help on sleep and your child, contact the following: