Playpens and Toys

Since we have come back from our trip to India and Dubai, Sim has had to relearn some habits, such as sleeping through the night, sitting in a car seat and playing alone. Thankfully she seems to enjoy her car seat and is actually falling asleep in it better than she used to (she used to always cry before falling asleep). She is still waking up a couple times at night but per the doctors recommendations the time she is awake is getting shorter and I am only feeding her once throughout the 12 hours.  If you want to know more about how I am working on getting her to sleep at night please leave a comment to let me know and I will write about that as well.

Now regarding playing alone, she does well playing by herself on the floor when we are in the room with her but cries if she is left alone for even 5 seconds or when I tried putting her in the play pen. So rather than go online I went to my favorite person for such things, my mother.  I look to my mother for advice regarding all aspects of life and parenthood is no exception. Being a mother to 8 children and grandmother to now 6 grandchildren she has a lot of wisdom to impart.

Note: Every child is different with unique personalities so you can generally can’t just take advice and flawlessly implement it with your child. There is generally a certain amount of tweaking  (not twerking 😜) that needs to be done to cater to your specific situation. You might see this statement a lot in parenting articles or blogs and I feel it is extremely important to remember, or else you might end up in the downward spiral of parent guilt if your child doesn’t react the way the author suggested they would.

One thing that my mother always did with us and has highly recommended I do with Sim is train her to play in a play pen.  Right now she is not fully mobile, she gets around by going on her knees and then sitting back down, and shifting directions while sitting etc. So while she gets around its more of a – going wherever the wind (or her rear) takes her – type of moving as opposed to intentionally heading in a specific direction.  That said , the day is getting ever nearer when she will be crawling all over the place and driving me crazy. So in order to maintain sanity I am trying to adjust her to enjoy play pen time and figured I would share how my mom recommended I go about it.

So the goal is for the child to play for an extended (maybe an hour) period of time in the play pen so you can focus on tackling some of your to do list. Some children might be totally cool from the get go but as I mentioned earlier Simran did not like not having access to me.  So the way my mom recommended starting out with very short sessions and staying within eyesight. And by short I mean about 5 minutes max. Playpen time should be considered a fun thing so you don’t want to wait for them to start crying or getting fussy before getting them out.  Try to put them in happy let them explore and take them out happy. This way there are no negative associations with the play pen.

Do this several times a day and as they get more comfortable with the arrangement let them start staying in longer every few days.  I started this yesterday and today she played happily for 10 minutes while I sat nearby on the couch.  My mom also recommended that the first few times you leave the room while they are in there you should come back very quickly so that they learn that even though you might not be visible you are nearby and will always come back for them.

The play pen I chose is the Summer Infant Play Yard. I chose this play pen because I felt it provided a good amount of space for her and is quite tall so even a toddler would have trouble getting out. It is also pretty easy to put up and its compact so I have the option of bringing it outside while gardening or while we are swimming etc. It can even be an option for parks or the beach.  The only issue is that because it is so portable there is no cushioning on the floor portion. I ordered some foam squares that fit well inside. Funny story, I totally thought I had scored an awesome deal with these mats only to realize when they arrived that they were about a quarter of the size that I thought they would be. That of course was entirely my fault for not being more attentive but in the end it was still a good price and came to good use.

The other thing that I wanted to mention, which was also recommended to me by mother dearest was in regards to toys. We all know that a baby would much rather play with a toilet paper roll or a charger cable than a toy but we all have loads of stacking rings, teethers, tuffed animals and  other sensory toys lying around the house.  If they are all constantly available they can get boring very quickly. So my mom suggested separating the toys into several baskets and then rotating the baskets every few days.  This reduces the mess and keep the child continually engaged and excited about their “new” toys.  I have done this with some of her board books as well and it is definitely making clean up time a lot more manageable.

Well I am off to put Simran to bed and I have ordered some ball pit balls for the play pen as suggested by my friend Sarah Hieskil so I will be posting pictures of that soon!

2 thoughts on “Playpens and Toys

  1. You are one smart mom. Not only because you listen to your mom…ha,ha, but because you know to take everything with a grain of salt and makes it work for you and your child. Nothing works faster against your confidence as a mom than learning THE method to do this or that for your child and seeing that it does not work for you. Child rearing is not a science, but a beautiful, exhausting, exhilarating, heartbreaking, heartwarming, ocean deep lows bringing, mountainous highs giving, most frustrating and most rewarding journey. Thank you for taking me along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gee thanks mommy! And I am learning to hold onto the memories of the mountainous highs while in the ocean deep lows. As you remind me frequently, this too shall pass!


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