Transitioning from Cot to Bed

Kathryn Mewes ImageIs your little one now too big for their cot or attempting to climb out all of the time?  It sounds like they may be ready to take the next big step and move from their cot in to a toddler bed.

To help you with this transition, we’ve teamed up with childcare expert Kathryn Mewes, as she shares with us her top tips so you can say “Goodbye” to their cot, and “Hello” to Bed.

I always think of this as being a wonderful moment, when your baby no longer needs a cot and it is time for a bed. The time when you say: GOODBYE to baby, HELLO to the child.

I am often asked as to when a baby should be moved into a bed and I will say when they start to show signs of climbing or when you can see they need more room.

But so many parents can be nervous of their child moving into a bed in case they ‘get out’ at night!

Here are my top suggestions to help ease the transition:

  • Before the bed even arrives, GET A GATE! Install a gate on the child’s bedroom door a week or 2 before the bed arrives. Let your child know that the gate closes every night, even though they are in a cot. You want them to think that it is the norm to close the gate.
  • Talk to your child about their bed coming and make it appealing to them with lovely bedding and even a new cuddly toy.
  • It is an idea to put the duvet across the bed so that they can be tucked in at night. This makes them feel secure, especially if they are coming out of a grow-bag at the same time.
  • A Bed Rail is so important. It rules out that concern in your mind that they might fall out of bed. Many children I have worked with love their bed guard, it is a form of security. It is also a brilliant thing to take away on holiday where possible.
  • Introduce a gate to your child’s bedroom door a week before the bed arrives.12556 Grey Double Bedrail Front
  • Don’t make an issue of them staying in bed. Ie: ‘Well done for staying in your bed’ gives them food for thought.
  • Ensure that there are not a large amount of toys accessible to your child at bedtime. Box them up with lids. Out of sight, Out of mind. You don’t want them playing after lights out.
  • Ideally you don’t want to leave a light on in their room. When they can see things around them they are likely to fetch them.
  • Remove a lamp if your child knows how to turn it on.
  • Ensure they cannot reach the ceiling light switch. Remove the bulb if they start to turn on the light.
  • Let them get out of bed and come to the gate and put themselves back into bed.
  • If they shout at the gate wait a moment and then go to them. Let them know that you have jobs to do and you will speak to them in the morning. ‘No more sleeping, rest time now.’
  • Ensure that you decide on the time the day starts. They might wake early but ignore them until you decide on the time to begin the day. Eg: they wake at 06.30 but you wait until 07.00 to go to them.

It is important that you continue bedtime in a relaxed fashion. If you feel nervous that they are going to ‘get out of bed’ the chances are they will!


Read their story as you usually do, either sitting on a chair together or now with them sitting on their bed and you next to them. Kiss and hug them goodnight after story time and then leave the room and close the gate (and the door if this is what you did before). Now please accept that at some stage they are going to get out of bed. This might be on night one or night 101! Let them walk to the gate but don’t run to them immediately. Let them look and wonder and then return to bed.


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