When do you make the move from cot to "big boy bed"?
Children love being free - free of nappies, free of clothes, free of any physical restriction including seat belts, gates and fences. A child seems happiest nude and running along an open stretch of land! And so graduating to a big bed can be a welcome event for a child but may bring with it some new challenges for the parents.
Challenge Number 1: Getting your child to sleep
Beds offer the prospect of escape! They have the freedom to play with their toys or climb into anything they can get their hands on. This can seem terrifying and so it may be a good idea to delay the move until your child can understand rules such as: "You must stay in your bed until the sun is in the sky" or "If you wake up before mommy and daddy you can play quietly with your dolls in your bed". Although, I am doubtful that obeying these rules comes easily to toddlers and think it wise to put in place some safety precautions for stealth midnight creepers.
Challenge Number 2: Keeping your child in bed
Cots provide a safe space for kids who are prone to rolling, turning and walking in their sleep. Expect a few bumps in the night if you transition straight from cot to bed. Alternatives are a safety rail on the open side of the bed or tossing the bed base and letting your little one sleep on a mattress on the floor.
Challenge 3: Keeping your child out of your bed
As much as children love the prospect of their own big bed, they will love the prospect of sleeping in your big bed even more. So try and make their bed a special place to be by allowing them to choose their own bed linen or decorating their ceiling with glow in the dark stickers. Set up a night light if they are fearful of the dark and a basket of quiet toys/books that they can play with if struggling to fall back to sleep. Each family will have their own unique rhythm when it comes to bed time cuddles. Whether in their bed or yours, in the evenings or in the early mornings, enjoy these precious moments and use them as a time to build your child's sense of belonging and confidence.