New research finds children should be sleeping in a cot until age three
Has your toddler been begging you for a 'big boy' or 'big girl' bed?
Or have you been using this promise as a 'this will happen if you just...' reward, trying to get your little one to sleep through the night or ditch the nappies or go to bed quicker in the evenings?
Regardless, it seems we are all that little bit too eager to transfer our children from cot to bed sleeping, a new study has found – but there are actually some pretty good reasons to delay this move, apparently.
For instance, if you have a good sleeper, this move could turn out to just disturb their sleep routine and habits. And on the other hands, if you have a child who is a restless sleeper and tends to wake during the night, the move from cot to bed could take matters from bad to worse, leaving you with little or no sleep for days or weeks on end.
According to the study, published in the Sleep Medicine journal, ideally, children should be kept in their cots until they are three, with the researchers agreeing:
"Sleeping in a crib instead of a bed is associated with enhanced caregiver-reported sleep quantity and quality for toddlers in Western countries."
To investigate their theory on cot sleeping versus bed sleeping, the researchers looked at the sleeping patterns of children and their parents across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and Canada.
To conduct the study, caregivers of almost 2000 toddlers aged between 18 and 36 months uploaded sleep data via a smartphone application. Of the toddlers included in the study aged between 18 months and 23.9 months, 63.4 percent still slept in cots. However, as the children grew older, more and more of them were moved out of cots and into beds, with 34.30 percent aged 24-29.9 months sleeping in a cot.
This figured decreased again with the oldest age bracket, where researchers found that just 12.6 percent of toddlers aged 30-35.9 months were still sleeping in a cot.
But here is the kicker: The toddlers who slept in cots had an earlier bedtime, fell asleep faster, had fewer night awakenings, remained asleep for longer and reported fewer sleep problems and less bedtime resistance.
In fact, the only factor that did not change whether a toddler slept in a cot or a bed was the duration of their night awakenings.
To conclude their study, the researchers noted:
"Deferring the crib-to-bed transition until age three years may benefit toddlers' sleep in Western contexts".
At what age did YOU transfer your child from cot to a bed, parents?