From a cot to a bed means freedom for your toddler. How can you manage this change without it becoming problem for parents?

iStock_000015093634XSmallUp until now your baby has been sleeping in a cot, however recently you’ve noticed her putting her leg up onto the top rail and testing the climbability factor. As a parent you want to put the move from to a bed off for as long as you can, but once you see this sign you know you can’t delay any longer.

You have a couple of choices you can either go straight to a single bed where you worry about them falling out. Kids don’t lie straight in a bed yet and you’ve seen your toddler rolling up and down and around the cot and wonder how they will every stay on a bed. You can go to a child’s bed which is of a smaller size and all your existing cot sheets, donors etc usually fit. This is a good option. Or you can put a single mattress straight onto the floor. Fall out worry solved and you can introduce the bed frame later when you feel the timing is right.

A easy solution to the falling out concern – there are lots of products available to help, but a simple and effective way is to lift the mattress up and slide in a pillow which effectively raises the edge of the mattress on an upward curve. Works just as well as all the gadgets.

The biggest problem for parents once you’ve chosen the bed is what do I do when they get out of bed and come out? Firstly prepare them beforehand by saying what you want them to do ie. stay in their bed, if they wake early read a book until a parent tells them it’s time to start the day, have a definite start time ie. 7am and then be consistent. Whether you are asleep or watching tv and your toddler ‘appears’ take them straight back to bed. Be careful: no talking, eye contact, cuddles, patts and no kisses. Take them to their bed and say “stay in your bed, daddy will see you in the morning”.

They reappear – repeat and ½ close the door. This is enough to keep most kids there. If they are a repeat offender, you need to be consistent and repeat your actions.

The other option is to ignore them altogether when they appear no matter what they ask – it is hard when they are asking for the 7th kiss and after a few minutes they will get the message ‘ there is no audience and mummy isn’t interested’ might as well go back to bed.

They will soon learn a range of excuses that work exclusively for you. They might even have one list for mummy and another for daddy. Things like, I need another cuddle, just one more kiss, need to go to the toilet, I’m thirsty or the one that works most – I’m hungry. These are designed to tug at your heart strings and for them to have one more chance to delay bedtime and play the bedtime game with their parents. They will choose those things that work for you and then ultimately them. What list does your child have?

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