There comes a time in everybody’s life when they have to move from their cot – the very first place they slept at home – to a proper bed. The age at which this happens is different for different families, and there is no real rule about when the time is right. Sometimes parents are forced to move their child to their own proper bed because they need the cot for a new baby. Sometimes the child gets so mobile they can escape from the crib and it becomes worrying to have them sleep there. In other cases, it is the child themselves who expresses an interest in having a ‘big kid’ bed, often when they have older siblings and want to have what they have.
Preparing the Bed
If you have decided to transition your child into their first big kid bed, then of course, the first thing you need to do is find the bed and set it up for them. You can find really affordable children’s beds at places like Big Brand Beds, and you can choose a style you think will be practical, for example if you want storage space underneath. Once the bed has arrived and you have assembled it (if necessary), get it set up and ready for sleep before you show it to your child. A bare metal or wooden frame with no mattress, comfy pillows or blankets will look scary rather than inviting to them!
To begin with, as well as any nice new bed linen you have bought (perhaps with their favorite colors, characters or themes) you should also include things that they sleep with in their crib, like their blanket and any stuffed toys. This will make it seem more familiar and cozy.
Talk to Your Child
Tell your child about the move in advance, and tell them you are buying them a beautiful, comfortable new bed to sleep in like a big kid. Make it sound like a real upgrade for them, perhaps talking about older children they know like friends’ kids or cousins and how they all sleep in nice big beds. Children all react differently to this. Some are resistant, others are delighted and proud that they are grown up enough for their own bed instead of a ‘baby’ one. With very young children it is hard to explain things to, you could even try buying them a new teddy and saying that the teddy sleeps in the big bed, and they can sleep there too if they want to!
The First Night
Expect your child to have some sleeping problems the first few nights. This is only natural, even adults sometimes have trouble sleeping in a new room or bed! They could be too excited at their new surroundings to sleep, or frightened. Make sure you spend time with them tucking them in and reading to them, and use a nightlight if they are afraid in the dark. Most kids soon adjust and quickly forget they ever slept anywhere else!
Moving to a first big bed is an important step in your child’s life, so make sure you make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for them!