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Is Your Toddler Ready for a ‘Big Kid Bed’?

Most children move from their cot to a bed when they’re between two and three years old.

There’s no hurry, though. And there are some advantages to leaving your child in a cot if they’re happy there. For example, your child can’t fall out of the cot. And you can put off the cost of buying a new bed and bedding for a while longer.

It might be time for your child to move to a bed if:

  • your child has started climbing out of the cot
  • your child is toilet training and needs to be able to get to the toilet easily during the night
  • you have a new baby who needs the cot
  • you’ve decided to move your child out of your bed and into their own bed.

Make sure your child is ready 

For many parents, it can be tempting to move your child from a crib to a big bed as soon as they’ve turned two, but many children are not ready for the big kid bed until closer to 3-3.5 years of age.  

Try not to rush the transition – if your child sleeps well in his crib without much complaint, don’t make a change.  Avoid putting pressure on your child by constantly emphasizing that he is a “big kid” now and, instead, simply mention it now and then, perhaps point out beds and fun sheets and pillow cases when you are out shopping with your child, and wait for your little one to truly be ready to make the change. 

Introduce the sleep fairy 

Introducing fairies, such as the sleep fairy, is a psychologist endorsed method for helping little ones to sleep independently at this age and for helping little ones talk about worries or why they are waking. They can also leave rewards for sleeping well. We did this with both our children.

As part of your sleep routine you can do a magical call out to the sleep fairy at tuck in time. You can also ask the fairy to come and watch over to give good dreams. The fairy can leave money, notes of encouragement and little gifts when they start sleeping through the night.

Little belle nightlights has lovely fairy wishing boxes and nightlights that can help with this.

Get your child involved in the switch

Discuss the move with your toddler rather than just springing it on them! For many little ones they have come to love their cot – it’s all they’ve known and it feels safe and familiar to them. If the space allows – it can be a great idea to set up the bed in the room as a place to read stories while your toddler still sleeps in the cot but becomes acquainted with the bed. This makes for a smooth transition.

Keep your regular routines

A consistent bedtime routine can go a long way towards helping your little one prepare for a great sleep each night. Don’t allow this to fall by the wayside when you make the transition to the big kid bed – routine is more important than ever in order to help your little one feel safe and familiar in this new situation. 

Don't be so quick to stop using the sleep sack!

Now that they are in a big bed, we automatically think blankets or doona! Don’t be so quick to ditch the sleep sack! It isn’t until around 4 years of age when your child will learn to pull the covers back over themselves if they become uncovered and cold in the middle of the night. The sleep sack still works as a great wearable blanket and in the early days will ensure they are not waking up cold and calling out to you unnecessarily.

Firmness and empathy

If your child is constantly hopping out of bed at bed time, in the middle of the night or at crazy o’clock (aka 5am!) be sure to pick a settling technique that you are comfortable with and implement it consistently to encourage this behavour to subside.

Good luck x

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