Moving your child from a cot to a toddler bed can be daunting. But it doesn't have to be this way. Such a milestone should be celebrated and never feared - your child is growing and gaining more independence, and a bed change can be exciting for all of you!
Some children might make it clear that they want to move to a big kids' bed, whereas others might simply grow out of their cot without showing interest in changing beds. If you're curious about the signs of whether your child is ready for a toddler bed, check out our blog article.
So, to ensure this process is as smooth as possible, we've spent some time getting to know our customers to determine when these transitions happen. We've also discovered the best advice for transitioning your little ones from cot sleeping to their first big bed to pre-teen and teen beds. Here's what we found.
When parents transition their child to a bigger bed
We spoke to more than a hundred parents and grandparents to find out how and when they have transitioned their little ones from one bed to another. We found that when choosing which bed to buy, the following were the most important factors
As part of the survey, we also asked what tips parents and grandparents would give to ease the transition. Who better to learn from than those who have been there, done that and successfully gotten their children into their bed? Here are a few of the best tips:
Your top tips on transitioning kids to a new bed
1. Consistency is key
Many of our expert parents and grandparents pointed out the importance of a consistent routine to get your little bundles of joy more willing to sleep independently. Changing beds for a child will shock the system after spending their lives in a secure cot close to Mum and Dad, so they are expected to feel slightly confused by the sudden change. One of our experienced mums advises: "routine, routine, routine - the best way to make the transition easy is to have a routine and stick to it".
Whether your child willingly jumps into their new bed with glee or fights the transition with all they have, it is essential to stick to your guns and keep them regular. The child will soon come to terms with the fact that this change is now a nightly occurrence and not just a one-off. In contrast, introducing them to their new way of independence on an inconsistent ‘every other night' basis will prolong the process, confuse the child and make the transition far more complicated than it needs to be.
2. Establish a routine
Another parent suggests how mums should "establish a bedtime routine and wait until your child is ready". It's all about listening to your child and getting them to understand bedtime as part of their routine, which is necessary every single day. Grab this as an opportunity to teach life lessons and better your child's understanding of the concept of growing; this will make later milestones easier in the long run.
Of course, mums know best when a child should go to bed, and a child's judgement of the most appropriate time to sleep may be slightly clouded. Taking the time to talk to them to understand the concept of bedtime and listen to their concerns is helpful when designing the perfect bedtime routine!
Don't forget to include "lots of love, cuddles and encouragement… and patience" throughout the process. It shouldn't be an instructive act but more an experience you share with many lessons learned.
3. Find the perfect toddler bed
Many underestimate the power of the right first bed and dread the lengthy and exhaustive process of visiting endless stores and scrolling through limitless web pages of children's beds. However, shopping for a children's bed doesn't have to be so unnerving! Our range of toddler and kids' beds is designed to help you find the perfect bed, with clearly labelled features and a guarantee of child-safe features to find the right bed for your child from the comfort of your home.
If you're curious about the different types of kids' beds, then make sure to check out our kids' bed buying guide to find the answers to the most frequently asked questions!
4. Time it right
It is crucial to remember that every child is different in every aspect of their growth. There is no unwritten rule or certified date for moving your child into their first bed - just because your best friend's daughter, who is the same age, is settled into her first toddler bed does not mean your child is ready to take the leap. And the same goes for the average ages we found in our transitions survey.
One of our informed mums advises: "it's down to the child; they will give you clear signs that they are ready for a bigger bed as every child is different". This could not be truer. For more information about the ‘signs' your child will show when they need a new bed, look at my article about ‘transitioning signs'.
One of our customers made a valuable point:
Finding a quiet period when your child is ready will be the perfect window for introducing them to their new big bed.
Taking it slow is vital. This is a drastic change for your child, and moving too quickly could make it an unpleasant experience for everyone involved; there is no set date or period for a bed transition, so don't rush it. Learn to enjoy the process as an achievement for your child instead of a chore you dread.
5. Reward, reward, reward
One of the mums we asked for advice told us about her great idea of a ‘star reward system' whilst another suggested: "praise them and tell them how proud you are".
Your child is overcoming a big change, and their participation is something to be rewarded. Make your child proud of their accomplishments to encourage them to welcome change and grow accordingly.
6. Let them know you're in this together
Remember that a bed transition is not an isolated process - involving your child as much as possible turns a daunting time into a bonding experience. Your child should be fully informed on what is going on and the reasoning behind it to make it less confusing and sudden.
It doesn't have to be a scary time for anyone; many of our parents and grandparents proved how to turn the change into a fun time for your child and get them eager to join in!
One of our experienced star mums shared her journey of including everyday items to make the change seems less unordinary:
Another super-mum explained how allowing the child to take an active role in picking their bed and bedding made it much more exciting. This made the whole process much less stressful as the child was willing and eager to sleep in a lovely new bed they had chosen.
7. Think practically
One simple tip for making the process easier for you is to ensure you have peace of mind over the safety and sturdiness of the new kid's bed you choose. Many children jump on their beds and wriggle in their sleep, so a tough and hard-wearing design is essential. Preferably one that is low to the ground, so it is easy for them to get in and out, and any slips and falls will be limited to a certain height.
We recommend choosing a bed that has a simple and smooth design, with no protruding detail on the headboard and footboard to avoid scratches and snags and instead uses colour to grab and maintain interest.
One survey participant advised:
"I think the most important thing is to have the safety guards in place, to begin with. If they are used to not being able to roll out, they won't be aware of the danger."
8. Make it comfortable
If their new bed is warm, comfortable and inviting, the transition from old to new will undoubtedly be smoother, and investing in a new kids' mattress is a vital part of this. As one parent surveyed said:
"Always make sure they have a comfortable, supportive mattress, mattress cover, and a comfortable soft quilt that's not too thick. I'd recommend a bed suited for their age and size that's colourful and fun to encourage them to get to bed."
If you're unsure what mattress will suit your child best, check out our kids' mattress guide to make sure you pick the right mattress for your child!
Are you thinking of changing your child's bed?
Trust us; there's no need to fear the bed transitioning process! It is a fantastic milestone in your child's life and should be a celebration of their healthy growth and gaining independence. We've got plenty of high-quality kids beds and toddler beds full of safety features to keep your child safe as they sleep at night!