The time will come when your little ones will be ready to move from their cots to beds. The key is to do this when your children are ready. You may have purchased cot beds and this is a great way of making this transition (and they also don’t take up any extra space in the children’s room/s). If you need to purchase beds you could consider buying full size single beds, which will keep the costs down and hopefully last your children for many years to come.
If your toddlers are climbing out of their cot but are under 2, then this is not necessarily a reason to move to a bed; it is often a phase and, if you return them to their cot, and do this repeatedly they are likely to settle back into the cot. It is often the case that if you move them to a bed at this stage it can mean that they will get in and out of the bed frequently. However, if you feel that it is getting dangerous and you are worried about it then moving to a bed might be a safer option. There is a school of thought that believes moving children from a cot to a bed before they are 2 and half years old will mean that the transition from cot to bed will not be as successful as it would be if you left it until after this age.
Moving the children into separate rooms may not be possible if you are short of space and it may not be necessary either. If your children sleep well in the same room and like to play with each other when they wake up, they may prefer to share. If they do share, try to give each of them a part of the room where they can keep their belongings.
Moving into a bed is an exciting next step for your children. Try and involve them in the process as much as possible, for example involving them in choosing their new bedding and if they are going to a cot bed, watching as the sides are taken off their cot (take the sides off one at a time so that it is a gradual thing) . As long as the children are over 18 months you can also introduce a little duvet and pillow to the cot so that they can get used to these before going into a bed. You may need to change the children’s bedtime routine slightly to accommodate the move into beds and again it is a good idea to start introducing these things before making the move.
Being prepared for the move from cots to beds is important and throughout the process you should talk to the children about what is happening and what the boundaries are around the move to a bed for example (e.g. not getting out of bed when it’s time to go to sleep, playing quietly if they wake up early etc.) It is also important to keep the children safe at this time so you may want to put a stair gate at the bedroom door/s so that they aren’t wandering around the house at night. You may also want to consider bed guards or similar to stop any falls or rolling out of bed in the night. It is common when moving to a bed for there to be quite a few disturbed bedtimes and nights, but if you make sure that they are prepared for the move and approach it consistently, this should settle down over a week or so.
For lots more information and tips, sign up for our sleep webinar.