The answer to this question can be really short and uncomplicated from a technical view point. It’s however, much more in reality than that. Keeping that in mind, I am writing this blog from experiences as a mother.
The most common advice on the right time to shift your child is “when they are ready for it”. If you ask me, it is a combination of a) when they are ready for it, and b) when the parents want to be ready for it.
Infants and toddlers have a very strong relationship with everything they touch and feel as a part of their routine. The feeling of belongingness and safety is reiterated to them in what they do everyday. Hence, the relationship that an infant/toddler establishes with his bed/ cot /mattress / sleep accessories is very powerful. It also determines how smooth the transition is going to be.
Both my children have slept in a separate cot next to me till they were 6 months. However their inner nature is very different. My elder one was more clingy, needed to be hugged often, and a light sleeper who often woke up at night till he was 3. I moved him gradually from his cot right next to me, to being in the same room, but away from me (I was expecting my second child when he was 2.5), and finally to a separate room with his brother at 3.5 years. Bear in mind, his bed was the same one he used in my room.
My younger one on the other hand, is a great sleeper (sleeps through the night since he was 13 months), had a special bond with his cot (still has), and is very independent by nature. He has been sleeping in a separate room with his brother since he was 1, and has a powerful connection with his room and bed. He feels safe in his surroundings, and seldom needs to be reassured.
Many parents think that finding the right age is the answer to when to shift your child. It’s not about the age, as it is about making your child ready for it. A child’s nature in turn determines how tough it is going to be for parents to make the transition. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, for my elder one, we had to be patient and do it in phases. It also meant, waking up in the night, and sometimes falling asleep near his bed, to make sure he felt safe and recognises his bed and room to be safe. It was a long and patient journey, which has paid off in the long run. With my younger one, it was a cake walk in comparison.
Essentially, it’s a stance parents need to take. I personally feel, the earlier the transition is made the better it is (of course, bed and child’s safety needs to be doubly assured). Having children in a separate room becomes necessary beyond a point to be able to relax and have some time of your own/ with your spouse. I know of parents who co-sleep with their 4-6 year olds. Not only is it physically uncomfortable, but it becomes harder to move children at this age against their wishes. Needless to day, parents end up having no life of their own.
In short, the right time to move your child according to me is as follows:
- Infant- in a separate bed next to mom- 0-6 months of age
- Toddler- in a separate bed, in the same room but away from being right next to the mother- as soon as the night time wakings reduce to 2/ night- 6 months- 18 months
- Toddler/ child in a separate room- 18 months – 3 years (depending on the child’s readiness and sleep pattern). The parents, however, must be able to hear the children when they call for them.
Useful tip- I bought a large cot, that would suffice for children until they are 5-7 years of age. This way, the transition has been smoother- as even though the location/ room changed, the bed remained the same. For my elder one, I changed the bed as soon as he became comfortable with his new room.
If you are looking for shifting your child’s bed, you may want to consider Beddy Nest and Beddy Blossom mattresses which are made especially for children. We customise sizes as per your requirement.