Transferring your little one from her baby cot into a big kid bed is a huge step. As a parent, you want to do it right and you want to do it at the right time. How do you know if your child is ready? What’s worse, moving them too early or waiting too long to move?
As with many issues in parenting, there really is no one-size-fit-all answer here. Every situation, every family and every child is different.
As a guideline, most children make a move to a big kid bed between 2 and 3.5 years old. But there are plenty of kids who will be ready earlier or later than that. Following your parental instincts is the best approach, but there are some general signs that tell you that your toddler may be ready for the big move.
Your child can climb out of her cot
If little Johnny is intent on climbing out of his bed, you better make it easy and safe for him to do so. Cots are not built for climbing, but for containing the baby and preventing them from getting out. If her attempts to climb out are successful, your little climber risks sustaining serious injuries. A big kid bed will provide a safer sleeping environment and will give her the freedom of movement she desires (yes, yes, hello climbing out of bed for the millionth time to say night-night, it’s a whole new level of parenting we’re entering here).
Your child needs to use the toilet at night
If your toddler is toilet trained and needs to use the potty at night or early in the morning, a big kid bed will allow her to climb out of her bed easily and independently so she can go potty when she needs to. Maybe even early in the morning without waking you up – a win-win!
Too big for the cot
Of course, if your child is getting too big or too active to stay in the cot, it is also a sure sign it’s time to move him to a big kid bed.
Sometimes there are external reasons you might want to move your toddler to her own bed. Maybe you’re expecting a new baby a need the cot for him. If you think your child is not emotionally ready, you might want to consider getting a second cot rather than moving her to early. If you’ve decided to move her to the big kid bed, it’s better to do it a few weeks before the baby’s arrival, so that the toddler doesn’t grow to resent the baby for stealing her cot.
Follow your instincts
Most importantly, don’t introduce the big kid bed just because you feel that you have to, or because everyone in your mum group has already done so. If your child is not emotionally ready, you might be setting yourself up for deep trouble by introducing this major change. If your toddler has existing sleep issues (such as not sleeping through the night, or trouble falling asleep) they’re likely to get worse in the big kid bed. If there are no pressing reasons to do so, don’t be in a hurry.
Remember, they’ll be out of their cot, and out of your house sooner than you think.