Baby playpen is a rather ambiguous item. Many parents are convinced of its usefulness and practicality. However, many psychologists and pediatricians are strongly against its use.
Thus, the best option is to test the playpen. Ask friends or relatives to lend you a playpen for temporary use. This will allow you to see how suitable this device is for you and your child.
In this article we will try to consider the pros and cons of a baby playpen for making a final decision about the purchase of this product.
Is Baby Playpen a Rescue Device for Parents?
Interestingly, many people say that a baby playpen is bought more for parents than for children. After all, indeed, this thing is very convenient: it is enough to put a baby in there, pour in toys – and enjoy a free minute.
But in reality, everything happens differently: the child begins to act up, express his displeasure, tries to escape from the playpen, rejects his favorite toys, etc. Even the presence of the mother sometimes cannot relieve the child’s whims.
Since the child always reaches out to know the world, it is difficult for him to be in a confined space. In the playpen, he may feel abandoned and helpless. And he needs the support of parents.
Pros of Baby Playpen
Playpen was created to limit the freedom of movement of the child. This turns out to be an incredibly useful opportunity.
- The main and indisputable advantage of using baby playpen is safety for the child. Mom cannot always be close to the baby, especially if she has to cope with all the duties herself. She occasionally has to be distracted from the baby to solve everyday problems. Growing up, children are becoming more active and do not want to just lie in one place. Therefore, baby playpen is a great option if you need to leave the child for a short time.
- Playpen ensures the safety of the child in the apartment. From the moment the baby learned to crawl, mother has to keep a sharp eye on his every movement. Sockets, thresholds, sharp corners of furniture, wires – all of this pose no danger if you buy a playpen.
- Also, if you have a playpen, picnics with a small child will become more comfortable. The playpen is more convenient than strollers and bassinets, because the child is free not only to play, but to sleep, taking any comfortable position.
- What’s more, playpen is useful to those who are going on a trip with a child. It is useful not only on the beach, but also in the room, since the child will have a completely full separate sleeping place.
The positive aspects of using baby playpen include:
- playpen helps to separate places for activity and rest (for example, playpen is for games, crib is for rest and sleep);
- in the playpen the child becomes independent.
It is very important that the baby’s stay in the playpen is not a punishment. The playpen should be fun, interesting, and comfortable for the baby. In such conditions, the baby will quickly learn to entertain and occupy himself. Keep in mind that the baby should get used to the playpen gradually, starting from three months of age.
Baby playpen helps to train certain skills:
- motor skills: sitting in the playpen, the baby can play, turning over large or small toys. The main thing is not to leave the child without attention;
- sitting skills;
- ability to stand up: clinging to the net, the kid learns to stand up faster;
- walking along the handhold.
How to Help the Child Feel Comfortable in A Playpen?
If the parents did decide that they need a playpen, they should remember simple rules:
- To create good associations with playpen – put the baby in there, when he/she is as calm as possible, not hungry, and ready to play. If the baby is naughty, and you put him/her there to calm down – the playpen will become a place of “punishment”, and the baby it is unlikely to enjoy it.
- Gradually get the baby used to the playpen. Give your child the opportunity to play next to the playpen, putting some bright toys inside. The child will be interested in a new place, and will try to get toys. If you put the baby in the playpen at this moment, the child will be very pleased.
- The baby will need time to master the space, give it to him. At the beginning, stay near the playpen if your baby is in there. Take the baby out if you notice nervous or disturbing behavior.
- Gradually increase the time the baby spends in the playpen. At the same time, try to be close to the baby. It’s clear that sometimes you need to go out for a while to another room, increase the time of your absence gradually.
- Help your child control the situation. Leaving the child in the playpen, periodically come up to him, talk to him, entertain him. If you notice that the baby is upset or bored, take him in your arms.
- Do not put too many toys in the playpen. The child should feel comfortable and have enough free space.
How Much Time Can A Baby Spend in the Playpen?
There is no universal answer to this question. Focus on the temperament of your baby. For active babies it might be difficult to stay in a playpen. A deliberate child, vice versa, can sort out toys in the playpen for an hour and more. However, even in this case, try to alternate periods of quiet play with physical activity, create stimuli for your child to move.
Cons of Using Baby Playpen
Some people believe that playpen is not at all useful for a child. Here are the arguments against:
- The playpen restricts the freedom of the child, which means it infringes upon his research interest. Having lost the ability to move, the baby cannot experiment with different styles of movement and is slowed down in development.
- The psychological component of the restriction is also important – being unable to get to what attracts him, the child feels helpless. As a result, it can have a bad effect on the formation of his personal viability. However, it is unlikely that you are going to keep the child in the playpen all day, so it is up to you to decide.
- In a closed and confined arena, a child may experience a feeling of helplessness. There are so many interesting things around, but the baby has no opportunity to learn about the world around. For the first time, the baby has a feeling of his inconsistency: he can do nothing to achieve his goal, and the obstacle turns out to be irresistible. The first experience of failure can be permanently fixed, if not in the consciousness, then on a subconscious level.
- Pediatricians claim that the child’s long stay in the playpen hinders proper physical development of the baby, because he is unable to actively move.
The child needs close contact with the mother and other close people. Psychologists have noticed that children who lack communication and attention are lagging behind in development from their peers. Baby playpen is needed so that mother can leave the child in a safe place for a while, and not a place where the baby spends all the time.
For many people, the playpen is an object that restricts the freedom of the child, but for others it is a real discovery. There are a lot of opinions about the harm and benefits of the baby playpen, so it is up to you to decide what is better for your child.