If you’re reading my blog today you might be in the same boat that I was last summer, which is wondering if it were time to make the move for your little one. The transition to a toddler bed is not one to be taken lightly, it is a huge step for our little person, and they deserve lots of time, patience and assistance from us (as their parent/s) to help them feel safe and secure in their new upgraded space.
Hopefully this article that I have combined with my review of the toddler bed that I bought, can help you to make informed decisions on what is best for you and your child/ren. Is it time? Only you will know by the actions and dependence your child currently has.
When my son turned two I wanted him to start using a toddler bed and there were several reasons why I thought this needed to happen now. The first reason was that it was difficult to lower him inside his cot when he had fallen asleep in my arms, and he was now tall enough to consider trying to climb over. I didn’t want that to happen, so I purchased his first toddler bed after measuring up the space that I had in his bedroom.
I bought the Argos “Ellis Toddler Bed” in Grey, to match my sons furniture, and then bought a mattress online. I had chosen this bed for three reasons, the first being its height from the floor, the second was that it came with a drawer for under bed storage, and the final reason was because of the three quarter sides.
My son moves frequently in his sleep and I knew that it would be quite a while before he could sleep safely without any sides to his bed. This bed was a great size for the price and I would hope it to last him two years at least due to the length. The handy draw keeps tidy all of the towels and bedding I use for my sons room and it is easy enough to slide in and out on its rolling caster wheels.
Bed Frame size L144, W75, H57cm.
Required Mattress size L140, W70cm.
Clearance between floor and underside of bed 19.5cm.
Drawer size H18.5, W139, D73.5cm.
There are now limited stock on this bed but it does also come in different colours. Here is what I would give it on my review scores having used it now for a whole year.
Quality of Paintwork 4✩
Quality of Manufacturing 4✩
Quality of Finished Product 5✩
Correct Specifications 5✩
Product Design 5✩
Overall this product is excellent quality and although it was difficult to put together, overall we have been very happy with it. A fantastic size for toddlers and small children and my son hasn’t fallen out of it due to the great design with those side bars. Although he is average height for his age (at 3) he still has plenty of room left to grow into this bed.
The Transition from a Cot to a Bed – My Tips and Tricks
The biggest thing about change for toddlers is that it can be unnerving to them. They get anxious and have to get used to something over time, so don’t worry if this alteration in routine and sleeping area takes a few weeks for them to get used to. The best thing that you can do for the first few nights is to keep the routine the same, but just place them in the new bed. If you have a routine that ends with them being placed into bed keep doing that.
Then on the second week add one new thing now that the child is older such as, can they now get into bed themselves because they are old enough to do so? It will make them feel bigger if they do it themselves and gives them confidence, but only when they are willing to get into bed on their own.
Don’t forget to use positive reinforcement when they are on the bed or in the bed so that the praise gives them positive ideals of being in the furniture.
Saying things as “What a lovely new bed you have!” and “Now that you are two/three you can sleep in this special big kids bed” and remember to let them know that this is a good thing, a positive step and not one away from you. Definitely praise little one when they get into bed without you having to prompt them too!
Getting the child to stay in bed is another matter though. Don’t worry if they frequently get out of bed or even tumble out of bed half asleep for the first few weeks, wondering where you are (especially if you have had them sleeping in your room up until this point). And the beauty of the toddler bed is its distance to the floor. They usually are only between 15 and 20cm from the floor.
Make sure to implement rules in their new bedroom, such as no toys after bed time. The child is not too young at this age to be putting their own toys back into a box or tub or basket, so why not start them off if you haven’t already done so (good practice for preschool).
I have found that it’s also a good idea to introduce a clock or show the time to a child at this age, and tell them that at “7 o’clock” (or whatever your bedtime is) their toys are put away and your bedtime routine begins.
Personally we are in the room for 7.30pm but it can take up to an hour to settle my three year old, some nights a story or two is enough and other nights I’m still reading at the hour mark. But it’s just imperative that you keep the routine the same, even if the time differs slightly, it’s still the act of doing things in the order that they are used to, and the act of then getting them into their own bed.
Talk About Their Safe Space
I tell my son every single night that he is “safe in his bed” and he is “safe at home with mummy” and this has reinforced him to stay in his bed. For the first few weeks if he woke in the night he would come and find me because he wasn’t sure on things. Now he’s more than happy to climb into his bed and choose the stories he wants at bedtime. He knows that I’m never far away now, but his bedroom is a safe place for him to be. He doesn’t always come and find me now that he is older either. He often wakes (and I hear him) but he presses his singing toy and lays back down or he will have a sip of water from his bottle and then turn over and go back to sleep.
Again positive reinforcement is key when organising their safe space. When little one wakes up they want to recognise where they are and that it is home or safe, favourite toys or items around the room will help.
If you find your little one is struggling initially with the bed transition then you could choose to sleep on the floor in their room for a few nights. Whenever they wake up in the night make sure they know that you aren’t far away and they are safe. It is totally normal for most children to find their new surroundings daunting, but remember to just keep praising and comforting, they will soon get there. All children are different and it could take a few weeks of patience to achieve the end goal, but everyone should sleep better once that is over with.
Make sure that they are comfortable on a firm but soft mattress and that the room is an optimum temperature. I still use our Gro-Egg from when he was a baby to tell me the room temp! My son had sleeping bags until he was two and a half, he was happy to sleep in them until he got older then he kept trying to take them off. I gave him his own thin pillow at three years of age, and I now put him in Pyjamas and a blanket over him. I have bought a toddler duvet this summer ready for the colder winter months, now that he is old enough to be able to push it away from his own face.
Keep Stories Gentle at Bedtime
I have found that stories that talk about bedtime or going to sleep are best at bedtime, other books can just excite little ones too much. My son has an absolute favourite book about a bear and a baby bear and he’s on his way to going to sleep, and we read it every night. I can now recite it from memory while he falls asleep in my arms (that is how many hundreds of times I have read it). But it’s such a lovely and gentle book that talks about how much mummy bear loves little bear and she is never far away no matter what he is getting up to. Consider what you are doing during your bedtime routine and make sure that there is nothing that is causing your little one to become more awake as opposed to be falling asleep. The best books we have found come from The Works.
Thank you so much for reading this blog post that I have written today, I do hope that you have found it informative and if my lifestyle experience with my son can help you in some way then I am more than happy to share it.
✩ Sabrina ✩