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Is your child ready to graduate from a baby cot to a big boy/girl bed?
Your little baby is growing up. It’s a huge moment!
Most parents have lots of questions on how to make this transition smoother and more efficient for their children. With good reason, some children adapt to it quite easily while others require a bit more time and patience.
Resident child expert and the author of Bringing Baby Home, Chris Minogue, shares her tips on how to help your child make the big move.
1. Identify the right time for your child to transition
The right time to make the transition from the baby crib to big bed might vary from child to child. Every child is different, and that’s ok.
Usually, children are ready around the age of two and a half years old, when they’re eager to become independent and grown up.
To help with the transition, Chris recommends removing old items like sleeping bags or dummies. “My theory is, when they move from cot to bed, get rid of all the baby things. [That way] we're telling the child - you’re now going to your big boy/girl bed,” advises Chris.
2. Keep your normal routine
Just because your child is growing up doesn’t mean their bedtime routine should change drastically. In fact, Chris suggests keeping the same bedtime rituals in order to make your child’s transition smoother.
Chris says, “I literally set up the bed next to the cot, take them out and put them on the bed, and I don’t change what I do in terms of the routine.”
It’s important to create a similar environment. Reassure your child of your presence and constant support. You can say, “if you need mummy or daddy, just call out”. Then, walk out of their room.
Most children will have no problem adapting as long as they keep the same bedtime routine.
3. Repetition vs negotiation
Once your child realises they can get up whenever they want to, they will surely test their limits. Be prepared!
When they get up, Chris recommends using repetition instead of negotiation. Repetition will also help you be firm with your decision.
“Try not to negotiate, just say ‘it’s time for bed’ and get them back into bed," advises Chris.
Just a heads up! For the first few nights you might have to repeat this step a lot. So, parents, be prepared with a great deal of patience.
The good news is the message will eventually get through.
4. Always have this trick up your sleeve
If your child’s still getting out of bed during the night even after using plenty of repetition, don’t lose hope. Here’s a great trick:
Chris cleverly suggests getting a baby porta-cot out and place it right next to your child’s bed.
Tell your child, “if you get off the bed, I’m going to put you in the baby cot.” Chris says, “I actually use the word baby cot, because you can see my two-and-a-year-old go 'well, I'm not a baby, I'm not going in that cot’.”
What if they still get out of the bed?
Your only option is to follow-through and actually put them in the cot.
Next time they will know what will happen if they keep getting out of bed and they will slowly start to understand.
5. Get a childproof gate
If all these tips have no effect on your toddler, you can always try putting a childproof gate on their door to keep them safe during the night. Eventually, they’ll learn that getting back to sleep is their only option.
Chris says,“[it's] the last thing I do for a very disruptive child," and she adds that, "that way, you can hear them and see them but they can’t run up and down the house."
"I don’t often have to use that, if I’ve started the right way. We've set the limits around going to bed, we've had our story-kiss-cuddle, [put them] into bed, left the room and created the same environment [as before]. Nine times out of ten this works perfectly,” concludes Chris.
Is your child ready to transition into a big bed?
Try out these effective tips and load up on your patience.
It will all be worth it in the end!
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