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    Childrearing #1

    June 21, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Train to the playpen.

    I believe this works for us because we do not need the playpen for our children to actually play in. A baby gate to keep a little one in a secure room has worked fine, but usually we just close all the doors in the house and let walkers roam a bit. So when I say “train to the playpen” I am referring to training the child to sleep in the playpen. If a child is required to spend a lot of time playing in the playpen, training him to sleep in it also may be more difficult.

    For those searching for a great playpen, I’ve found that have a fantastic list of the Best Kids Playpens currently on the market. It’s always wise to read reviews of playpens before committing to a purchase – to make sure it’s going to suit yours, and your child’s needs.


    There are many reasons to do this.

    The most obvious is that when parents travel, they usually bring along a playpen for the baby to sleep in. If the baby has not been trained to sleep in the playpen, he may not sleep at all, turning a vacation into a nightmare. But this benefited us a great deal even at home, especially when we had only one child, because we could go to a gathering of friends and stay as late as we wished. We simply brought along the playpen and set up a makeshift nursery in a back room. Our son used a playpen in this manner until he was two-and-a-half. Our daughter still uses one.


    The question is usually how to do this.

    What has worked for us is to start young — about the time the baby has outgrown the bassinet and moved to a crib. A. was more difficult to train than E. I remember that with A., I simply had her take one nap a day in the playpen until she was no longer resisting {resisting, by the way, was not screaming, but just a tendency to fuss a bit and take longer to fall asleep}. Then I lowered the frequency to about twice a week. Now that she is over one, she doesn’t need the practice. She will sleep in the playpen whenever we require it of her. It also helped that we put down the same blanket {we didn’t have a sheet to fit the bottom} for her to sleep on every time, and made sure that the blanket came with us when we took the playpen out. The consistency in bedding seems to help.


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  • Reply Nicole July 31, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    I totally agree that this is a great idea. We didn’t try to train our child to sleep in her playpen–she just adapted to it and it was such a blessing. It allowed us to spend time at other people’s houses and as she got older, she could spend the night at my mother-in-law’s with no problems.

    After reading your post, I think I need to make sure my son is as cozy sleeping in the playpen, too. Thanks for the great advice! 😉

  • Reply Brandy June 22, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement! I know you will be a PlayPen Mommy someday, too–you like to travel too much! 🙂 It is easier to go places–and the familiarity of the playpen makes going places, whether for a week, or just an evening, so much easier on the child.

  • Reply Grace June 22, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Bran: I’ve watched you teach E. and A. these things. I’ve learned so much about parenting thru you and have been taking mental notes for when I have kids myself. =) I think it’s also great that they are trained to take naps anywhere. It makes it so much easier to go to places!

  • Reply Brandy June 21, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    I forgot to mention that children can be trained to sleep other places, as well. Our daughter was in desperate need of a nap every Sunday morning during our Sunday School class, so we trained her to sleep in her stroller with a blanket over the top. This kept her well-rested on Sundays, and was much easier than trying to rock her in a noisy classroom.

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