Hello toddler bed. You now let me roam free at bedtimes, jump out early at the crack of dawn and look for mummy or daddy instead of nap time…every toddlers dream.
You are not the only parent that has probably tried to put off transitioning your toddler from a cot to a toddler bed for as long as possible. Now that time has come, I have a few helpful tips that will make the transition easier.
Mole was in her cot whilst Frankie was under 6 months old sleeping in the Snuz Pod next to me in our room. It suited us just fine as we were managing to get sleep and stick to the working bedtime routine. Our plan was to transition Mole when I felt like she was ready however, Frankie had other plans.
Frankie, as you know, is such a big boy. He out grew the Snuz Pod quickly. Our only realistic option was to move Frankie into the cot Mole was currently in, and invest in a toddler bed for Mole. (Rather than buying another cot, that would not be needed in a years time.)
Ideally it is best to transition your toddler from around 18months of age up to around 3 1/2 years old. The timing is different for every child. If your toddler is trying to climb out of their cot or asking for a big bed then its probably time to make the change.
A big move
Transitioning your toddler from a cot into a toddler bed is a big move for them. We were currently potty training Mole at the time and doing both of these milestones together was wrong as it would have been too much for her. Not forgetting that she was also adjusting to life as a big sister.
As the bed transition was our main priority, we put potty training on hold for a couple of months. I can now tell you, that break from potty training, to focus on her new sleeping routine, was the best decision ever. We started potty training again and made faster progress than before and Mole is now nappy free.
Change their room
I truly believe that changing their room from baby to toddler decor helps. We were lucky enough to be in a position to give the room a full make over from scratch, as her room was a spare (dumping) room.
I got her some fun artwork with big bright animals above the bed that she instantly got excited about. The walls were painted in bright colours opposite to neutral walls Mole had before. The reason was to make the room look noticeably different to her. All decorations were a mix between adult decor and children’s.
The bed we picked was perfect for her height to hop on and off with ease.
The duvet set was purposely chosen as a bold Peppa Pig print that caught her eye immediately and was inviting for her to sleep in the bed rather than having an insta-perfect bedding set.
All of this added together built up Mole’s excitement and made the change positive for her. Once she saw the complete room, Mole started asking to sleep in the “big girl bed”.
I have seen parents simply change their toddlers cot into a cot bed and begin the transition, however, I would really recommend adding a few new touches to their “big girl/boy” room to make it feel more grown up to them.
Reference big girl/boy
Every now and again, I’d use the term big girl when describing something to her. This could be drinking from a big girl cup or sleeping in the big girl bed. It helped because Mole started to understand that the cot was now for babies and she wanted to sleep in the big girl bed.
Stick to the same routine that worked for you before. The same bath time and bedtime story to bring familiarity to them in a big change.
Don’t be alarmed when your toddler decides to wonder around after 10 minutes of putting them to bed. That is normal and can be stopped with other methods that I will discuss later on, rather than changing their bedtime routine around.
Give them credit
I can guarantee your toddler will adapt to change. We should have given Mole a little bit more credit for how well she took on the transition. I can’t believe I doubted doing it for so long. We started putting Mole down for a nap in her big girl bed first. She looked so grown up, it didn’t feel right when I saw her back in her cot for bedtime. Mole looked older (or more her age) and everything felt right to move her into the bed full time during the night.
Jumping out of bed
Mole was an angel for the first few weeks in her toddler bed then something changed. As soon as I put her to bed and started walking down stairs, I would see her bedroom door handle move and next minute she was running around the landing.
Do not give into giving them attention for doing this. We would say one word. “BED”. Take Mole back to bed, give her a kiss and then leave the room.
Some night I would be doing this till 11:00pm.
We even tried a stair gate on her bedroom door but that made her very upset and she was screaming “Molly stuck”.
If the one word “bed” would not work. I’d take Mole back to bed and tell her, “Molly stay in bed now, no open door.” and usually her reply would be that she isn’t tired. Which would be a lie as the time would be 9:00pm. Id simply then tell her that all of the animals, are in bed now, sun in bed, Frankie in bed and she would get the idea and stay in bed.
Wow. 5:00am mornings are not for me. We are still working on this. My current alarm clock is Mole running in asking to watch Hey Duggee as 5:00am. i’ll keep you updated if I find a working miracle.
All I can say is, be prepared for the early starts.
Transition them at a weekend when you don’t have to be getting up early for work after getting a stressful night of keeping them in bed.
I hope you found this blog post useful.
Please share below any advice you have for other parents.
Lot’s of love