Transitioning your toddler to a bed

When it comes to moving your baby from it’s cot to a bed, us parents range from the super-keen-can’t-wait-to-get-cracking, to the waiting-as-long-as-possible-totally-in-denial-it-ever-has-to-happen but in the name of progress there’s no putting it off forever.

With so many options and bed solutions for little tots it’s one of those parenting decisions that causes a fair share of angst and googling, yet in the not too distant future you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

We’ve made the move twice now, and took two different approaches, with two very different children.

Case study A: ‘We could have made a bed in the bath and she’d have slept in it’

With our first born we invested in a good quality cot bed, which served us well. Like many parents however, when the time came to upgrade her to the ‘bed’ part of said cotbed, an impending arrival already had already reserved the cot for use.

This left us with an epic first-world-problem …do we convert the cot to a bed for 6 months or so, and then buy a toddler bed? Single bed? Rebuild the cot *groan*? Or buy a cheap cot for the baby? Or buy a second cot bed? The options were all a bit mind boggling so in the end we went with what we felt was the most cost effective option; buying a low to the ground single bed, and a bed guard. Having the luxury of a ‘spare room’, we redecorated it for Tigs, new bed and all, and when finished gave her the option of her new big bed, or her cot until she was ready.

The girl was an incredible sleeper, and with no hesitation she leapt into her new big bed from day one (in which she looked tiny, at 20 months old) and slept there for 12 hours straight. Job done.

Case study B: ‘Things can’t get any worse?’

Our second daughter was, or should I say, is, a terrible sleeper. Around her second birthday she was still waking regularly throughout the night and up at the crack of dawn daily. When things are this diabolical in the sleep front, we figured things couldn’t get any worse. She seemed to love jumping up on her sister’s big bed so maybe a major change might be the shake up she needed?

We converted the original cot bed down to it’s miniature bed of cuteness and as predicted, she was over the moon. In fact, she often slopes off and can be found sat on her bed arranging her teddies or reading a book (“The end, the end, the end…”).

Did it improve her sleeping? Did it hell. But we made the leap relatively unscathed…

When things go bad

With both girls we had a short episode of evening hi-jacking as the girls discovered their new found freedom. In any of these lawless children situations, I try to take the mental attitude of ‘what would supernanny do?’. With Tigs, firmly popping her back in bed every time was enough to get it sorted in an evening. The Mouse? Obviously was going to push her boundaries a little harder, and we used the stairgate across the door which worked a treat within two nights.

Choosing the right bed

Every situation is different, but with each child consider your budget and longevity. There are some beautiful toddler beds out there and this option will be perfect for mouse – the tiniest two year old ever, in the box room. No worries about longevity there as she’ll probably fit in it until she’s twelve. It’s also a great option if you know it’ll be passed along to a sibling (go gender neutral if needs be).

Magic Garden Toddler Bed

We searched high and low (no pun intended) for a low single bed for Tigs. I wish we had come across the  Room to Grow site then, because it has an actual section for exactly that, alongside every other bed style you can imagine; bunk beds, novelty beds, cot beds, toddler beds, cabin beds, day beds, high beds, bunk beds…and they are all really gorgeous too.

We’ll be needing to replace the Mouse’s tiny converted cot bed one day, probably more likely to be forced by our dream loft conversion and bedroom swaps than her growing out of it.


So that’s our story…how did you get on with the big bed  shift?


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One thought on “Transitioning your toddler to a bed

  1. June Martin Reply

    Reading this takes me back! I think we are well past (finger crossed) the transition…phew! We had such different experiences with our two so it felt both times that we were starting from scratch! With our first we went for a full size single bed as we were thinking ahead and didn’t like the idea of having to buy another bed a few years later. With our second we thought we would go for a toddler bed, we found a great range of toddler beds and we really involved our second in the selecting of it. Neither experience was perfect and we still had trouble with both but I feel the transition second time was easier, as the toddler bed was a good compromise from cot to bed.

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