Perhaps your child has been climbing out of their cot, is night toilet training or has a new sibling. Either way there will come a time when your baby needs to ditch the cot and move to a bed, and when it does here are 7 things that you can expect to happen.
1. Cheers and tears
Your little one might be super excited about the big move one minute and then crying the next. A new bed means fun new sheets and doona covers, a bigger pillow and possibly more toys at night time – something your child can get pumped about! It will feel quite large to them though and different, so they may also be quite upset – particularly if their cot is going to a new baby sibling instead. And you might shed a few tears yourself too because after all a big bed means your little baby is growing up!
2. Up and down games
Get ready for the never-ending pop up child (even if it’s not at first). Once they realise they can actually get up out of bed whenever they feel like it, trust us they will. It might start with appearances in the kitchen asking for water, or a little face peering around the hallway at what you’re watching on TV. And then they get bolder – suddenly your toddler is running up and down the hallway ten times a night after bedtime just for kicks, or you check in on them later and they’re in the middle of the floor playing with all their toys. So expect some disturbed sleep for a while and it’s at this point that a day sleep might end up disappearing altogether too (darn).
3. Comfy story time
No more weird perching or neck straining for story time in the cot with your baby! Now you can cuddle up nice and close with your little love all tucked in while you comfortably lie or sit next to them reading books or having quiet chats. It’s also great for when they’re not well and need a parent to lie with them, rather than taking them into your bed. Easy!
Has legs – will travel. Even if your child doesn’t consciously want to get up out of bed, they might do so without their knowledge – particularly if they’re toilet training. So don’t be surprised to find them asleep in strange places around the house or their toilet accidents anywhere from the bathroom floor to their bedroom carpet that happened when they were deep in slumber. If your little one is prone to sleepwalking you might need to take extra safety precautions too, such as putting a barrier at the top of stairs or removing potentially dangerous objects in hallways.
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5. Falling out of bed
This is guaranteed to happen for quite some time. Babies are so used to rolling around in their cots and being protected by the bars that it takes them a while to realise the same doesn’t apply in a big bed. You can get a side barrier to help prevent them falling out which is quite useful, but even with this it can still happen. Usually you’ll hear the big thud as they fall out of the bed but sometimes you won’t know until you go in to check on them and see them curled up on the floor. Just make sure there’s nothing sharp like a table edge near where they might be rolling out of bed and comfort them when they fall.
6. New fears (theirs)
A big bed can feel quite scary to toddlers, especially if they’re still fairly little, and without the cot bars to ‘protect’ them they may feel quite exposed and vulnerable. Suddenly they may develop a fear of the door being closed or the darkness, so don’t be surprised if you have extra concerns and episodes to deal with. Also initially some kids are actually afraid to get off their bed to go to the toilet, or don’t think they can, and so you might get a lot of calling out at first before they feel more comfortable about independently getting up.
7. Midnight frights (yours)
Ah the worst factor of big bed transitioning of them all. Imagine this – you’re fast asleep, it’s the middle of the night and suddenly there’s a presence at the side of the bed. It can take quite some time to get used to your child appearing out of nowhere and scaring you senseless when for so long they’ve been contained in their own room. Just try not to freak out too much and also remember that if you’re having sexy times with your partner, then shut that door!
For some great tips on making the transition to a big bed a smooth one, listen to mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue on the Feed Play Love Live Helpline:
What things happened when your child moved into a big bed?