Moving Your Toddler From Their Cot To a Bed


Oh, Sh*t. He’s only gone and done it. He’s climbed over his cot and he is now loose in his bedroom, much to his utter delight. Cue last-minute attempts to baby proof his room at 7.30 pm at night while he runs riot in Maddie’s room, slamming doors and drawers much to Maddie’s horror.

"I changed my mind. I don't ever want to share a bedroom with Billy." Maddie says with a frown, her arms crossed. She'd been talking about bunk beds for the two of them for the past six months. (Obviously, this was never going to happen any time soon anyway, but her change of heart sounded pretty definite - for now anyway!)

"No, I really don't blame you..." I mutter, telling Billy to stop banging the doors for the ninth time in half an hour.

He’s only 21 months! He’s not even two. We were not at ALL prepared for this. Maddie had never shown any interest in climbing out of her cot, but Billy practically hopped over it.

Once they’ve done it once, yep, you’ve guessed it. It’s game over. It could be dangerous to carry on and gamble on them not doing it again.

Baby proofing a toddler’s bedroom is by no mean feat. Give yourself more than an hour or two to get it right (our first mistake).

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First, you need to identify the hazards.

Get down on their level and deal with anything that might be a problem. It’s important to ensure all freestanding furniture is attached safely to the wall. Fred Safety is my recommended go-to for baby proofing equipment, including anti-tip kits and plug socket covers.

Make sure the window in your toddler’s room has a child lock on it, and remove any blind cords, or keep them well out of your child’s reach.

When it comes to the kids’ bedroom doors, we’ve always kept them shut at night. Maddie prefers to go to sleep with hers open, so we close it when we come to bed. She’s had a baby gate on her door up until Billy jumped cot, and that’s now on his bedroom door.

A baby gate on a bedroom door wasn’t a concept that we were that keen on at first, but they’ve worked really well at caging the kids in. I mean, keeping the kids safe in their own rooms. (Obvs.) Billy’s room is right opposite the stairs, and although we have baby gates both top and bottom, we have two cats, and they like to come and go.

Right, so potentially awkward topic of baby gates on bedroom doors out of the way, moving on to the cot transition…

We removed the sides off the cot, and kept the bed in the same place so as not to introduce too many changes.

We fixed a bed guard on the wall side (as apparently there’s a danger of toddlers getting stuck between the bed and the wall), and we’ve used a yoga mat rolled and tied tight underneath the sheet on the other side of the bed to prevent rollouts.

Sorted! (But still, how can this be happening so soon?!)

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Anyway. The first three nights he settled really easily. He’s never been a problem sleeper. At night, he’s happy to lounge around in his cot for 45 minutes before he drops off, and in the morning, he’s content to happily lie there, waiting patiently for us to open his door.

But come the third night of his big boy bed, the night-time tantrums hit.

A mix of feeling scared on his newfound freedom with a dose of ‘I’m not ready to go to bed yet?’ Perhaps.

Finding ourselves in the unchartered waters of tantrums at bedtime, we were left wondering how to handle the situation.

During the past two weeks, the things we’ve found that seem to work (for now, anyway!), is heading upstairs to bed a little earlier, so he feels as though he’s had the time he wants to play upstairs before agreeing to settle.

Asking him to choose a book and encouraging him to get into bed while we read together is the next step. Trying to keep him in his bed is the tricky part.

Leaving the room is usually met with a fuss, but as soon as we’re out of sight, he cracks on happily with his books.

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Other than that, we haven’t changed anything; we’ve kept the bedtime routine as consistent as possible. Dinner at 5 pm, baths at 5.30/5.45pm, milk and a little family TV time, brushing teeth at 6.20 pm and heading up to bed no later than 6.30 pm.

The yoga mat under the sheet is working well and he’s not fallen out of bed yet. He sleeps through as usual, and is happy to lie in his bed in the morning with his books until we open the door just after 7 am. He takes a little while to get to sleep at night, but that’s quite usual for him.

Nap times, on the other hand… Well, right now, it’s Saturday afternoon, and we’re mid nap time and he’s been sitting in his bed reading books and throwing them overboard for the past two hours… Oh, no wait, just checked the monitor, he’s now finally fast asleep...

Oh well. A work in progress…!

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