From cot to big bed, a toddler rite of passage

museum bed and cot from Weald and Downland Museum
This is a house in the Weald and Downland Museum - I'm not as old as you think!

It's been 16 years since I had to worry about moving a toddler from a cot to a big bed, but it's a topic that crops up often in parenting circles (obviously) so I often think about it. I was all set to give some advice to someone (who was asking for advice!) the other day, because I thought, 'it was so easy', but then I thought back to what actually happened, what we actually did and I wondered.

When DD was about 14 months old she was 'potty trained' (hate that phrase, but can't think of a better one, 'house trained'?) and was dry both day and night. She was still in her cot at night but during the day would often take herself off for a nap and often fell asleep on a sofa that was in her room. Soon it became a routine to suggest nap time and she'd just be happily settled on the sofa and nap. It seemed silly then to keep 'trapping' her in the cot so I started leaving the cot side down. She still went to bed and went to sleep with minimal fuss and all was fine.

When she turned 2 we moved house and it seemed the right time to move her to a 'big bed'. Taking this to an extreme we chose a midi-sleeper cabin bed with a ladder and space under for play and toy boxes. The higher beds of course have a slight guard rail so there was little danger of falls, and anyway she happily slept on a sofa and didn't fall off.

And so the cot went and a new exciting 'big girls bedroom' was born and she had moved beds, and there was no fuss, and we were brilliant parents and...

ah...I may not have told you the whole story, because to us you see the following bit just seemed normal and easy and obvious.

When DD woke in the night, which like many small children she often did, she would get out of bed, walk along to our room, and climb in with us.

I would wriggle over drowsily and we'd made space, and then we'd all fall asleep again until morning. I think maybe after the first couple of times we took her back to her own bed, but to be honest laziness and a lack of desire to drag ourselves up out of bed at 4am, meant that it quickly became the norm for her to snuggle in with us.

DD continued to come into our bed for a cuddle whenever she woke up until she was at least 9 years old! As she grew the times she did it grew fewer and fewer so that by the time she was 7 or 8 she might only come in once or twice a month and often at 6am, or 7am and then, one day, she just stopped coming in, and it was bitter sweet. Sometimes I still miss it.

And so, moving a toddler from a cot to a bed is really, really easy as long as you don't mind which bed they are moving to!

Am I a hippy co-sleeping mum? It didn't feel like it, and Mr TM is really old-school where parenting is concerned but even he said "if a little kid wants a cuddle in the night, let them cuddle, and then we all sleep better"

toddler sleeping and quote

Have you done the move to a big bed for your kid(s)? Was it simple? and do you find you co-sleep now? I'd love to know if you found it easy or difficult and do you have any top tips for parents that are about to give up the cot?

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