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From cot to bed

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Practical advice for moving your child from a cot to a bed

Moving from cot or paalna to bed may be a milestone for your child, but needn’t cause problems for you. There are some things you can do to make the transition easy.

Timing

There is no set time to do this but usually it is between the ages of 18 months and three-and-a-half years. The arrival of a sibling needing the cot can be a catalyst or you may simply feel your child needs more space.

Many children start to climb out of the cot which can be a good indication they are ready for the next stage and if your child is potty training, she might need to be able to get out of bed to go to the toilet.

If you are moving her to make room for the baby, try to do this a couple of months before your due date so she is happy and settled before the arrival and doesn’t feel pushed out by it. Alternatively, wait until baby is three to four months before making the switch.

Easing the transition

Some children don’t bat an eyelid when going from a cot to a bed but others can find this stage difficult and unsettling.

If this is the case, try positioning the bed in the same place as the cot was. If your child has a comfort blanket or particular piece of bedding she is attached to, let her take that with her so she has some continuity.

Make the move exciting. Involve her in buying the bed and choosing a new duvet set in her favourite colour or with a much-loved TV character on them. Try to keep all other aspects of your bedtime routine the same.

Stay safe

Your child will be used to having the cot bars as protection and so she may roll out of a bed at first. It is a good idea to put a guard rail up to prevent this from happening or you could lay some pillows or cushions on the floor beside the bed to give a softer landing if she does fall out.

A cotbed is more expensive than a cot, but it can last until your child is five years old and can make the transition process easier as she is already used to being in it. However, if you need the cotbed for a younger sibling you will still need to buy a proper bed for your older child.

Be prepared to find your little one wandering about during the night which makes a safety gate at the top of the stairs is a must. This should be installed before your child proves she can climb out of the cot by herself, as you don’t want her tackling the stairs on her own at night.

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