When it comes time to transition your toddler from the cot or crib to a big bed .
Ideally around three years of age , one of the most common things that parents notice is that this transition leads to disrupted sleep , but it doesn't have to .
There are actually four really helpful items that you can use to make the transition from a cot to a big bed , a breeze .
Let's start with a sleeping bag .
Often when parents move Children to a big bed , they swap the sleeping bag for blankets .
Now this makes sense as parents are often worried that a sleeping bag will result in the toddler falling out of bed or falling over when they attempt to exit their room for the fifth time that night .
But toddlers move around a lot when they sleep .
As a result , it's really hard to keep blankets and sheets on them .
And they often kick the blankets off during the night and because they are unable to pull their blankets up independently until they're three or four years of age , they will call out to you to pull them back up .
So to avoid these unnecessary call outs and to help reduce how often your little one wakes during the night because they are cold can continuing to use a toddler sized sleeping bag is really helpful .
Sleeping bags which are essentially wearable blankets will keep your toddler warm throughout the night .
And also for their naps as they become used to sleeping in a big bed .
The added benefit of sleeping bags is they provide a sense of security for your child .
The transition from a crib to a bed is a huge change for Children .
If they've always slept in a sleeping bag , they're maintaining this familiar part of their sleeping routine can help to make them feel more comfortable and secure throughout this transition .
As an added bonus , sleeping bags can make it slightly more difficult for your toddler to escape the big bed and may encourage them to stay in bed rather than climbing out and wandering around .
That said , if you are concerned with using a sleeping bag will increase your child's risk of falling over .
Then you might want to consider buying toddler sleep suits , which are essentially sleeping bags with legs in them .
Alternatively , you could actually eliminate the need for a sleeping bag or blankets by simply controlling the temperature of your toddler's room for all their naps and nighttime sleeps .
If you are able to keep the temperature very well regulated , then this is one way to eliminate the issue of them getting cold .
If and when they kick those blankets off .
The next item is something I wouldn't typically recommend , but it's often very helpful .
If your child becomes fearful of the dark between the age of two and three , a child's imagination skills advance to the point where they can become fearful of the dark .
And this may lead to them refusing to fall asleep or calling out multiple times during the night because they are scared in these situations .
A night light is often a good way to fix the problem .
A dim night light maybe enough to provide your toddler with comfort as they fall asleep and ensure that they can quickly check their surroundings as they drift between sleep cycles throughout the night .
Usually this will eliminate the need to call out or come and find you during the night .
However , using night lights can influence your child's internal body clock and lead to early morning wakes .
So one thing I will mention here is that it is best to use night lights which emit a dim red light , red light is less likely to shift your child's circadian rhythm or suppress their production of melatonin , which is the hormone which helps them to fall asleep .
White or blue light .
On the other hand , is closer to daylight and this can impact their melatonin production and their circadian rhythm .
And for that reason should be avoided .
The third must have item is a wake up queue .
Toddlers are not aware of the concept of time , which means they don't understand that they need to stay in bed until a set time .
For example , seven o'clock in the morning , they just get out of bed when they wake up .
And because they are in a big bed , now , they simply jump out of bed and come and find you .
Which means you might be woken up at four in the morning .
If this happens every single morning , it can easily lead to an early morning waking habit .
So to avoid this happening with your little one , when you transition them to a big bed , make sure you use a wake-up queue .
A wake-up cue just simply provides a visual or auditory signal which will tell your toddler whether it's time to be in bed and stay in bed or time to wake up and get out of bed .
A wake up queue could be something as simple as plug in night light into a timer that turns on at the desired wake up time each morning or you could use a toddler sleep training clock .
Now , these clocks provide a visual cue in either the form of a picture or a color or both to indicate that it's either nighttime and your toddler needs to stay in bed or it's time to wake up and they can get out of bed .
For these wake up cues to work .
You need to actively teach your toddler how to use them and to do that start by showing them what the nighttime cue is and state that when you see this picture or this color , we stay in bed and then you show them what the wake up cue is and teach them when they see this color or this picture , it means they can actually get out of bed .
So for example , when we're introducing the clock to my three year old son , we simply showed him that when it was nighttime , the screen itself was gonna be a dull red .
And then when it it was morning time and it was time to get out of bed , the screen was going to change to yellow .
And then we just practiced that a few times before using it for the first time .
And now my son successfully uses that clock every morning and reminds me when it's time to wake up .
Now , staying in bed until that desired wake up time on that wake up queue can be really hard for a toddler at first .
So we do wanna make sure that they achieve success early because once they experience success , it becomes much easier to reinforce the behavior .
So to do that , make sure you start out with an achievable wake up time for your child .
Don't worry , this is just a starting point and I'll tell you how to adjust it soon .
So as an example , if they usually wake at 6 a.m. then the wake up queue needs to happen at 6 a.m. or just before 6 a.m. We don't want to put the wake up queue happening at 7 a.m. because if you were to set it at 7 a.m. right away , they will likely never succeed .
And it would just be a frustrating experience for everyone .
So start at their usual wake up time .
And if they do wake up before that allocated wake up time , you will need to help your little one stay in bed until that clock changes color or their lamp turns on .
This may mean that you might need to stay in their bedroom with the lights off until the clock or lamp says it's time to wake up .
Now , pretty soon , your toddler will learn that they will stay in bed until the wake up queue .
Once they start to succeed with that early time , you can start to move the time forward , but you want to do it in very small increments .
So if you start at 6 a.m. once they have succeeded with a waking at 6 a.m. for a few days in a row , you can start to move it to 6:05 a.m. Then once they get consistent success at that , you can adjust it to 610 and you would continue to do this until you reach your desired wake up time for your toddler .
But just remember that your child only needs a certain amount of sleep each night .
So if you find that you get stuck and can't get them to sleep any later in the mornings and you want them to , you will need to slightly adjust their bedtime to make it a little bit later and that will ensure that they can get to that later sleeping time .
Now , if you're not quite sure on what you should be expecting in regards to how long your toddler should sleep overnight and their total sleep needs , then make sure you click on the link in the description box below to get the new parents guide to sleep .
Now , let's talk about another item that will help your toddler fall asleep quickly at nighttime and stay in their bed until the desired wake up time .
And this is a white noise machine .
A white noise machine emits a sound similar to radio static that effectively masks environmental noises like the TV , playing dishes , being put away garbage trucks rumbling down the street and birds chirping or dogs barking early in the morning .
And this will make it easier for your toddler to fall asleep at night and then stay asleep until their wake up queue .
One thing to note here that I get asked quite often is the risk of hearing damage from white noise machines .
The maximum volume on many white noise machines can exceed the recommended noise level for Children .
And that means it can have the potential to lead to noise induced hearing loss for that reason .
It's important to keep the volume of the white noise machine below the maximum level and place that white noise machine at least 6.5 ft or 200 centimeters away from your baby's sleep space .
This will ensure that the white noise isn't at a level that can de your baby's hearing .
And this comes from a study performed by Hugh and their team that I will link to in the description that showed that none of the tested devices exceed the recommended noise thresholds for infants when they u were used at maximum volume and placed over 6.5 ft or 200 centimeters away .
Now , if your little one is already waking too early in the morning , it is important that you address this well , before transitioning them from the crib to the bed because it is going to make it so much easier .
So make sure you watch this video next to find out exactly how you can get your little one to sleep in a little bit longer in the morning .
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