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Moving baby from cot to big bed

Posted 26.02.2014 by Yulande Roxburgh under Parenting Hints & Tips

You may be wondering when the right time would be to move your child from cot to a big bed.

Most children make the move themselves and will indicate when they are ready-this could be anything from 12 months to 3 years of age. There is no need to rush, patience will ensure an easy stress-free changeover when your child is naturally ready. My daughter pointed decidedly to the single bed in her room one night with one foot pushing the cot away and that was  simply the end of it and we never looked back. My son on the other hand was encouraged by the brand new theme bed waiting for him.

Reasons to move:

  • You may be expecting another baby and need the cot to become free for the new arrival. If there is a new baby on the way it is best to make the move at least 2-3 months before or after the arrival to avoid any negative association with the new baby.         
  • Your child may be outgrowing the cot physically. Cots are general designed to be snuggly places of security for up to 3 years of age, so be sure the child is ready to move if this is your only reason as they may be quite comfortable.
  • Your child may become able to climb out in which case you will want to eliminate the danger of injury sooner rather than later.
  • You may be potty training your little one and want them to be able to get to the toilet easily in the night.
  • Your child may want to move to a big bed

Ideally the transition time should be during a peaceful, calm time of your baby’s life. If you are having a new baby, moving house or starting work again there will be additional stress factors in play which may inhibit progress.

Tips to help your child settle in:

  • Toddler beds could be a useful transition especially seeing that your child will not need a full length single bed for quite a few years. The advantage of a toddler bed is that the bed takes up less floorspace which is prime property in a toddler’s bedroom for play time.
  • Be sure to cater for those first few nights of possibly falling out-try installing a safety guard rail or stash a lot of soft pillows on the floor. Alternatively put a mattress on the floor.
  • Encourage your child with positive excitement into becoming a bigger child.
  • Take them shopping for new bedding and pillows
  • Let them first sleep on the big bed(in the same room) for daytime naps
  • Bring along all the old trusted cuddle toys and a favourite blanket
  • Have quiet time before bed, tuck them in and let them know what to do next. Say: “Go to sleep now, see you in the morning!”


Moving to a big bed brings new issues such as sleepwalking and early morning wandering/roaming. Be sure to make your child’s bedroom safe as they will now be able to get up in the night or early in the morning to play.

  • close windows
  • remove obstacles
  • tuck electrical wires out of the way
  • check curtain and blind cords
  • secure access to stairways.
  • put toys that require supervision out of reach.

Your child may start getting up in the night to come and sleep with you or come to wake you up early in the morning. If this happens simply immediately walk them back to bed and tell them to go to back to sleep or to play until its time to wake up and then leave the room.

Written by Yulande Roxburgh from

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