Transitioning from a Cot to a Bed
19 October, 2020

Transitioning from a Cot to a Bed

This is another of those major developmental milestones that parents look for.

What’s interesting about this one is that it’ll be one of the first that your child may be able to have some say in!


As always with milestones, there’s a tendency to become fixated on age and dates.

In fact, this really doesn’t matter at all.

As a very general guideline, if your child is showing signs they’re trying to climb over the cot’s sides or are capable of picking the locks (don’t underestimate how clever children can be there) then it’s time to consider a change.

Very, very roughly, most children in the 18-30 months age range will be at the stage when their original cot is becoming a bit too limited for them.

Some cots can be converted easily into toddler beds as they’re designed to do that to save you money. In other cases, you may need to go shopping.


While there’s no rush to transition and no pre-set agenda, the older your child is in the cot the more they may become attached to it.

That can mean in some cases, they get a little upset to see their much loved ‘bed’ being thrown out. Major trauma here is rare but some children can become a bit miserable.

One solution, for a time anyway, is not to throw their cot away. Assuming you have the space and it’s safe to do so, it could become incorporated into one of their play areas.

First proper bed

There is no magic here. Just select the one you like and can afford but do remember to check that it and its mattress and covers are all certified safe.

Don’t forget – unless you like the idea of constantly buying beds and handing over plastic during their childhood, try to allow for some growth when you make your selection!

Get your child involved

Depending upon their age, there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t get your toddler to come along and make at least some choices of bed or covers themselves. They’ll love it!

Warning! Before doing so:

  • make sure your toddler is only looking at things you’ve previously checked out and find OK. If you don’t, they’re likely to choose something you find ghastly or which is unaffordable;
  • linked to the above, if you invite them to choose, you’re committed. Ignoring their input as to what they like can demoralise them.

Be cautious with gimmickry

Some beds for younger children have all sorts of wonderful toys and other gizmos built-in.

There’s nothing wrong with that and those toys can be really appealing but keep in mind what your child finds amusing at say 2.5 years might seem babyish and boring at 3.5.

Again, unless you like the idea of buying lots of beds regularly, be wary of those that have obsolescence built in!

Anticipate a few sleep-problems initially

Finally, if your child has spent their first two years in a cot, they may find it very strange to be sleeping elsewhere.

Try to settle your child in over the first night or two – spend a bit longer with them reading stories etc. Even so, you may need to anticipate a few interruptions to your own night’s sleep until they acclimatise.

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