Once Tyne had turned 18 months old, we started to notice that he seemed to be outgrowing his cot quiite quickly.
He has always moved around quite a lot in the night, and we would often hear him hitting his head on the rails over the baby monitor while he was asleep and of course we were concerned about this but unsure of when was the right time to move him from a cot to a bed.
I asked around some friends and family members for opinions, and read up on toddler beds - single beds but lower to the ground than normal to make them safer and with ease of access for little ones, and with built in side panels to stop them from easily rolling out too.
We decided that a toddler bed would be the way forward and set about deciding when & how to make the change.
We moved house in December last year when Tyne was 20 months old, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Tyne would already be experiencing the change of moving home and having a whole new bedroom, so it made sense to me that a new "big boy" bed would be best implemented from the start.
The lovely people at HelloHome had given us the chance to choose a toddler bed from their extensive range to try out with Tyne, and we opted for the Thomas & Friends Snuggle Time Bed (£119.00)- Tyne is a HUGE fan of Thomas The Tank Engine and so we knew that the addition of a Thomas theme would make the new bed all the more exciting to him!
That evening, we apprehensively went through the bedtime routine, worried that Tyne would keep getting out of bed or, worse, falling out but we needn't have worried.
It actually took over 3 months of being in the bed every night before Tyne first got out of bed himself in the night! I don't think he actually realised that he could for a while!
I know that other children can struggle to understand that they need to remain in bed though, and that we perhaps experienced a bit of a fluke with Tyne being so keen to stay put for the night, and that's where perseverance would be key.
Once Tyne did start getting himself out of bed, we made sure to always go straight up and calmly take his hand and lead him back to bed, tuck him in and say goodnight, and leave.
It would usually only take 2 returns to bed before he fell asleep properly again and stayed put.
Of course he's no angel with bedtime and we HAVE had struggles since as he's got older which is something I'll be discussing soon, but the transition period itself went much smoother than we ever imagined which I am very grateful for!
And I personally believe that the fun character bed made the transition process MUCH smoother for us as it gave the bed a real appeal to Tyne and made it seem like something that was a treat for him - an exciting new bed just like his favourite TV character - SO much more fun than his boring old cot, right?!
In short, here are my Top 5 Tips for making the transition from cot to bed.
1) Pick the right time - if you are moving house or the child is moving bedrooms this could be an ideal opportunity, otherwise make sure you choose a time when not much else is going on so that if the nights are a bit disrupted it's not going to cause too much of an impact - for example you might not want to make the change when you have visitors staying, when you have a series of early important work meetings and so on!
2) Introduce the new bed during the day time - confronting the child with the new bed at bedtime might be too much for them, the earlier in the day they see the new bed the more time they have to try it out and become familiar with it before bedtime rolls around.
3) Consider the "fun" aspect - if your child does have a beloved character, would a character bed make them more interested in the switch and more likely to accept and be excited about it? Even if a character bed isn't something you want to go for, something as simple as character bedding could be a big help in getting the child interested and excited for their new "big bed".
4) Safety - Your child has more freedom at night time now, so you want to make sure that if they do get out of bed they're not going to encounter any accidents. Before putting Tyne into his toddler bed, we did a check around his bedroom to make sure that all furniture was securely anchored incase he decided to climb on anything, we made sure all electrical sockets were covered, and that any chords (blind cords, light cords, even his dressing gown belt...) were all WELL out of reach.
We also made sure that the windows were locked and that there was nothing in front of them that he could stand on, and that the stairgate was closed and secured each night.
5) Perseverance - When they do try to get out of bed, persevere. Go up and calmly take their hand and return them to bed each time they get out of it, tuck them in and say goodnight and leave the room. Try not to get drawn into conversation, try not to get angry and insist they stay in bed too harshly as you don't want to make bed seem like a punishment - as tiring as it might be, eventually they WILL stay put.
If you are making the transition yourself soon - good luck and think positive! It may not be as bad as you think, it certainly wasn't for us! If you've already made the transition, do you have any tips to pass on to others?
The very lovely people at HelloHome are giving one lucky Sparkles & Stretchmarks reader the chance to win their own Toddler Character Bed!
The winner will have a choice of either the Thomas & Friends Snuggle Time Bed or the Peppa Pig Snuggle Time Bed (please note that as HelloHome do not sell mattresses, the bed will be given without one so you will need to source your own.)
To enter the competition, just complete the Rafflecopter form below - Good Luck!
Ts & Cs
Entrants must be 18 and over
No cash alternative given
Prize provided by the PR company, Sparkles & Stretchmarks does not take responsibility for any prizes lost in transit.
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