How we transitioned our toddler from cot to toddler bed
Nearly 3 weeks ago now, Harrison finally did the inevitable and jumped out of his cot so we moved him into his toddler bed! That’s right at the grand age of 2 years and 4 months old he was still in his cot bed with the sides up. That’s because I am lazy, I did not want to mess around with his sleep because he is (for the most part) a fantastic sleeper both at night and during nap time.
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’
I was waiting for him to realise that he could climb out before we started the battle of taking off the sides of the cot. So when he finally made his great escape we took the sides off and prepared ourselves for the battle. I was having flashbacks of years watching Supernanny and that black and white night vision filming of parents repeatedly putting their toddlers back into bed and sitting outside their bedroom door for hours on end.
We prepared ourselves, we had our rules about how to put him back down. ‘No eye contact’ ‘tell him it’s bedtime’ all of that rubbish. But we didn’t need it! He did amazingly well. I do admit he was already an amazing sleeper so it wasn’t too hard for a transition for him. B
ut we did do a couple of things
to prepare him and make the ride smoother for us.
1. Remove all toys and distractions.
We have never had loads of toys in Harrison’s room because he has never had completely free reign to go up and play with his toys whenever he fancied, so the majority of his toys have always lived downstairs. He did however, have a small selection up in his room, some blocks, his rocking horse and his nice paper books that I didn’t trust to be down in the selection downstairs and be ripped. So from that first night we took all of these out of his room, there is no need to make getting out of bed tempting whilst it is still a novelty. He has now been in his bed for 3 weeks and those books etc will not be moving back yet. I need to be fully confident they won’t be too much of a temptation. Maybe in another month’s time. If he is lucky!
2. Block the bedroom door.
In the first few days, and actually even today when he didn’t want to nap, Harrison was much more interested in escaping his room than settling down to sleep. Luckily, in our new build house, his relitavtely freshly painted bedroom door sticks. The majority of the time this is a pain in the backside. But when it came down to bedroom escaping antics, it was a god send. He can not open his door. Believe me he has tried. This is so important. If you need to put a stair gate or something similar to stop them getting of the bedroom. Do it. He quickly learnt that once he is in his bedroom, it is time to go to bed. This did mean that one nap time he actually fell asleep on the floor next to his door but he slept and he didn’t do it again! The whole process would have been so much more challenging if we had to go back and forth putting him back into his room every 30 seconds!
3. Roll up a blanket to help prevent falling out of bed.
The first night Harrison was left with the sides down, he ended up sleeping on the floor for 4 hours. He, over the course of 2 hours, fell off of the bed in slow motion.
It was amazing to watch, I’ll admit we giggled, we took pictures, but it isn’t ideal for that to happen every night. So we modified a pinterest hack I had seen of putting a pool noodle under his bedsheet by rolling up one of his old blankets and putting that under his bedsheet along the edge. He hasn’t fallen out of bed since!
4. Change the bed routine
This goes against several things I had read saying that you shouldn’t make too many changes at once around bedtime when removing the sides off the cot. But us we had to adjust a few things. Before being in the big boy bed Harrison was a nightmare to get ready for bed, he would literally run around like a mad man until we put him into his cot. He would pick his bedtime story (I say pick, he chooses the same book everynight!) and then run around whilst one of us read the book and the other one tried to grab and wrestle him into his pjs. Now he is in bed we can’t let him do this anymore because there would be no way he would stay. So we refocused bedtime. We get his pjs on him (with however much wrestling is required) and then he picks his book and then we insist he is in bed to listen to his story. He was so excited to get into bed the first night we were able to transition this quite easily. Now he sits in bed whilst I sit on the floor next to his bed and he rests his head on my shoulder whilst I read. It’s amazing! Then we do our kisses and cuddles in bed, he sits up to watch us leave the room and then he just snuggles straight down.