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  • As your child grows from baby to toddler, establishing a good sleep routine remains just as crucial and one of the big questions facing parents is how to make the transition from cot to 'big girl' or 'big boy' bed - without disrupting your little one's precious sleeping patterns.

    According to research from Britain's bed specialist retailer Dreams , 66 per cent of UK parents move their children from a cot to a bed between the ages of two and three. While 40 per cent chose to move their kids into a toddler bed, 24 per cent opted to move them straight into an adult-sized bed and to skip the middle stage.

    Babies seem to feed and sleep on a continuous basis throughout about 24 hours, although within a matter of a week or two some of that sleep will clump together, although not always at night-time! You know your child best, so choose the approach that you think will be easiest.

    According to a spokesperson from Dreams, while half found the move easy, the other 50 per cent felt that it was 'difficult,' 'time-consuming' and even 'impossible.

    According to Gurney, there are cues to watch out for that could speed up the transition - especially if it becomes a safety issue with toddlers trying to escape their beds. She recommends preparing your child for the move by discussing it beforehand, giving a sense of occasion to the transition putting pictures on the wall by the bed, choosing some new bed linen together and maintaining the usual bedtime routine.

    Some children love their newfound freedom and you may find they suddenly appear by your side after you've said goodnight or are shaking you awake in the small hours "If your child is being moved out of her cot because you're expecting another baby, you can prepare her for the change," says Gurney.

    Talking through the new set-up is also helpful: Where will the new bed be? Where will you both sit for a bedtime story?

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    What colour bedclothes will you pick out? And if you haven't moved your older child into a bed before the birth of your new arrival, no worries - just leave it until after your child is used to their new sibling. One thing to remember when you do decide to make the move is that putting your child to bed will no longer mean being able to snatch five minutes' of peace and quiet. Mum-of-two Karen, who has over 20 years' experience in the child care industry, found that since her son was in a bunk bed, her nine-month-old daughter was more interested in sleeping in the bottom bunk rather than her cot.

    She never fell out of bed and she never escaped; however she did trash the bedroom every day.

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    When it comes to investing in cot beds as opposed to going straight toadult beds, it's largely a matter of comfort and affordability, and comes down to what parents are looking for. Gurney recommends choosing the bed that's going to 'last the longest for that child and is the most comfortable one that the parents can afford.

    When choosing a bed, keep in mind that extras - sleigh bed styles, under-bed drawers - will add expense. For some parents, having a child still sleeping in a cot is the one time they can feel like their child is safe, in an enclosed space and not going to get into too much trouble until they're hurling themselves over the top, that is.

    As with all things parenting-related, the change in scene potentially means a lot of work for the parents - in the beginning, anyway. As mum Karen puts it:

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