How Often To Use A Playpen For Toddlers In Daycare Ideas

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
20 min read
A high-quality playpen is an investment that will pay dividends time and time again as your child develops. A baby playpen can do triple duty as a portable crib, a large play area to keep your child entertained, and a secure place to rest.

What is a playpen?

A playpen is a portable, small enclosure with bars or a net on the walls and an opening at the top, where a baby or child can play and be distracted while their parents are busy.

The majority of playpens are constructed out of wood furniture because of its portability and versatility.

Wood is also favored because of its light weight, adaptability in design, and security.

A child can feel secure enough to explore his or her imagination and have fun without interference from the adult world.

A playpen is not the same thing as a crib because a playpen is typically made of lighter material and can be moved around more easily.

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Various ages that are suitable for playpen;

  1. A playpen should be introduced to a baby between the ages of four and six months, with the goal of creating a lifelong association between the playpen and a feeling of safety for the infant. The infant may develop anxiety if left in a closed environment before being introduced to the world.
  2. The baby is six to eight months old now, and a playpen is a great place for him to learn and develop his skills in a safe environment. While in it, a child should be given new toys that require them to stretch in order to reach them, which will help them learn to sit up or stand on their own.
  3. From eight to ten months, a child can pull themselves up to a standing position or begin to crawl. It could seem like you’re stifling their free-spiritedness by confining them to a small space. The playpen might not be the best choice if you want to encourage them to develop a sense of curiosity and independence.

The Many Functions of a Playpen


When it’s nap time for the little one, the playpen comes in very handy.

Here, a child benefits from not being confined to his or her bed but rather from the ability to learn to fall asleep and stay asleep anywhere.


When it’s time for the child to play independently, parents and caregivers can leave a selection of toys in the playpen.


A playpen is helpful on the go because it relieves the strain of holding the baby the whole trip.

The baby can play or nap in the playpen, giving the parent some time to get other things done.

When space is at a premium, playpens can “double” as a bed so that parents or guardians can sleep soundly while their infant plays safely in his or her own space.

To protect children from potential harm or contamination (infections) from pets, a playpen should be used in areas of the home with exposed electrical cables or outlets or where pets are kept.

Before buying a playpen, it’s important to think about things like the baby’s weight and the space available.

A sturdy playpen that won’t give way under the baby’s weight should be the one you pick for your little one’s playtime and naptime.

The baby’s weight is another factor to consider.

A playpen for a baby or toddler should provide enough room for the child to move around and play.

The playpen needs to be built in a way that makes it simple to move around.

The playpen should be easy to fold up or hang up when not in use.

Another crucial consideration is the available space within the designated area for the playpen.

If one’s home is already tight on space, it would be inefficient to buy a huge playpen.

In addition to the playpen itself, make sure you’re happy with the playpen’s additional features, such as wheels for easy transport, a place to stack diapers, and a place to put the baby’s essentials.

Having a rocking attachment available is also helpful in case you need to soothe a baby to sleep.

Since a playpen isn’t intended for long-term use, it’s important to think about cost when shopping for one.

There are some different types of playpens

1) Standard playpen

Designed for indoor use, this amusement structure features a raised floor and open sides so that the child can communicate with its supervisor.

2) Playpens Gates

Some playpens, also known as playpens gates, do not have floors and are designed to be placed on a lawn or in a corner of a home.

It’s roomier inside, but it’s useless for transportation.

3) Travel playpens

These can be folded up and made smaller.

They are primarily meant for infants to sleep in during long car rides.

Above six months, when the baby begins to crawl, is the ideal time to introduce a playpen to your child.

If you want your baby to feel comfortable and free to move around, it’s best to get one before it begins to crawl.

If a playpen is dirty, has holes, or is otherwise in poor condition, it should not be used.

To prevent injuries, don’t hang anything from the ceiling that a baby could grab and use to hurt themselves.

Playpen has its pros and cons;


A baby can feel secure in their environment even when their caretaker is not present.

It frees up the parent or guardian’s time so that they can get everything done around the house without interruptions.

Once the kiddo has had his or her fill of play, the playpen can be converted into a cozy bed for some shut-eye.

The playpen has walls that help the baby learn to sit up straight, which is useful for when the baby is learning to crawl.

By using the hand-holds, a baby’s balance and coordination can be developed early on, allowing him or her to start walking at an earlier age.


Leaving a baby in a playpen for extended periods of time can cause parents to feel distant from their child, leading them to be less attentive and more likely to neglect their child’s emotional needs.

Although it has yet to be proven, there is some evidence to suggest that a child’s physical development may be negatively impacted by spending too much time in a playpen.

How often to use a playpen for toddlers in daycare?

The question has no clear-cut solution.

One set of parents may use a playpen seven days a week, while another set may only use it twice a week. Taking into account your child’s unique requirements and preferences is the best way to make the right choice for your family.

A playpen can help your young child feel safe and secure in a new environment, such as a daycare.

If your child gets into trouble when left alone with other kids, this can be a good solution.

Spending too much time in a playpen, however, can have unintended consequences. Your child may miss out on important developmental milestones if they spend most of their time confined to a playpen.

This can cause behavioral and developmental issues, as they become bored and restless.

A playpen should be used for no more than an hour or two a day, at most. Your kid can still interact with other kids their age while having plenty of time to play and discover.

Get in touch with your child care provider and ask for their advice on how often they think a playpen should be used. The following questions can help you decide whether or not to use a playpen at daycare:

What is my kid’s level of flexibility when it comes to adjusting to new settings?

To what extent does my child get into mischief when I’m not around?

Am I able to give my child adequate attention during the day?

-Does my kid get to try out new things and learn new things?

In a daycare setting, how are playpens to be used?

-Do I feel at ease adhering to those norms?

My infant won’t stay in a playpen; what can I do?

Keep your baby entertained by putting toys in the playpen.

When they are upset, let them see what you are doing, but don’t come too close or touch them just yet. Your goal is to help them understand that this is a place where no one will judge them based on how they act. That way, they won’t develop a negative association with it that will be hard to shake down the road.

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Are playpens a good idea for babies?

Most parents agree that play yards are beneficial for infants. However, the claim is not supported by evidence, and contrary evidence has been found.

Whether or not you want your child in a pen depends on more than just whether or not their parents used one when they were young.

How do you lock the sides of a playpen?

The playpen’s sides can be secured with the included locking mechanism. Typically, this is a screw or a lever that can be turned to hold the panels in place.

Remove the keys from the playpen’s locks when you’re done using it so your kid can’t get stuck in there. Keep a close eye on your kid whenever they’re playing in a small area.

Consider getting a larger playpen if you plan on using it for more than one child. They won’t be squished at all, and will have plenty of room to play. You can purchase extra panels to expand the pen’s size, but be sure that the model you settle on has a reliable locking mechanism.

The safest playpens for your child are made of metal to prevent them from toppling over while they are inside.

You can leave your baby in the pen without fear of overheating thanks to the mesh panels that line it. Babies tend to be sloppy, so it’s a good idea to look for models with a wipeable surface.

Can I use Graco Pack N play as a crib?

The Graco Pack ‘N Play is a widely used piece of baby gear that can substitute for both a crib and a bed while on the go. You can use it in the conventional position for napping and sleeping, or convert it to a changing table with a bassinet attachment (basinet sold separately) to make diaper changes more comfortable for your baby.

The Graco pack ‘n’ play’s lightweight construction and wheels on one side of the frame make it simple to relocate; the wheels also flip the frame over for effortless cleaning.

If you no longer have a baby at home, you can convert the Graco into a handy storage space by folding down both sides into flat surfaces. This makes it ideal for stowing away blankets, toys, or anything else.

Can a baby sleep in a pack and play every night?

While pack and plays are ideal for occasional use when baby sleeps alone, they should not be used as the sole sleeping arrangement. If you want your baby to learn to sleep independently, it’s important to give him or her plenty of opportunities to do so in a crib or bassinet.

Pack and plays are convenient whether you’re on the go or you just have another child at home who needs watching. However, if you must use them more than that, try not to exceed three nights per week.

When your baby is having trouble dozing off in the pack and play, you can help him or her relax with some white noise, either from a sound machine or your smartphone. Swaddling your baby tightly may help him or her fall asleep if you find that he or she does better in a confined space.

Best Baby Play Pens

1.Graco Pack N Play

Because of its adaptability, this Graco Playpen is a must-have. It can be a bassinet, a travel crib, or even a small playpen for your baby, all at a very reasonable price. When used as a bassinet, the mattress pad can be placed at a higher height within the playpen; however, this attachment can be detached to convert the unit back into a more conventional playpen for infants of a later developmental stage.

Be mindful that the bassinet setting should only be used with infants who weigh 15 pounds or less and who have not yet mastered the ability to push themselves up on their hands and knees.

Ideal for low-income families who want to get more mileage out of their playpen investment.

2.YOBEST Baby Playpen

The YOBEST Baby Playpen has everything a young child could want in a playpen and more. There is plenty of room, and it is sturdy, too, in this cushy playpen. You can convert it into a ball pit by using the plastic balls that are included. Because it can be used by children of varying ages for years to come, this playset is a good long-term investment. The mesh side panels are crafted from all-natural, eco-friendly materials and have zippered entryways that can be closed to keep your baby safe or opened to let them come and go as they please.

It’s worth remembering that this playpen is on the bulkier side, so it might not be the best option for taking on the road. It is a wonderful thing to have available at home for your infant or toddler to play in.

Beneficial for open floor plans and active infants.

3.Regalo My Portable Play Yard

As to why it’s so great: The Regalo Portable Play Yard is a great portable playpen because it can be set up in seconds after being unfolded. Since it is lightweight and compact, you can easily sling this playpen over your shoulder (even with a baby on your hip!) and take it with you wherever you go. You can set up this playpen anywhere, indoors or out, and it will even withstand light rain. This playpen requires no assembly beyond unfolding and clicking into position.

Remember that this playpen is designed for infants aged 6 to 24 months, so it is not appropriate for younger infants.

Toddlers and older infants can benefit from this.

4.Toddleroo 8 Panel Play Yard

And here’s why: If you want to give your baby a safe and roomy place to play, the Toddleroo 8 Panel Play Yard is a great option. This enclosed playground is 34.4 square feet in size and can be installed almost anywhere. You can customize the size to fit your needs by choosing between an 8-panel or 6-panel configuration for the play yard. This playpen is portable thanks to its carrying strap, and it also features a sturdy construction and skid-resistant pads to ensure the safety of your child.

Keep in mind that this playpen’s large dimensions make it well suited for placement in open areas such as the living room or backyard. However, it might not be a good fit for a more compact or modest dwelling.

Excellent for families with multiple young children or toddlers.

5.Fisher Price On the Go Baby Dome

Just a few reasons why it’s awesome: For parents with infants, nothing beats the Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome. This small, lightweight playpen can be set up anywhere and doubles as a secure spot for a quick nap. The hanging toys are great for sensory play. Taking your baby out and about has never been easier than with this portable playpen. You can take your child out into the fresh air with you by setting up the stroller in the backyard; it comes with a canopy to protect your child from the sun and insects.

Remember that this foldable playpen is intended for infants only (ages 0 to 5 months), so it is not a good option for toddlers.

Ideal for mobile infants under a year old.

6.Albott 14 Panel Play Yard

Just a few reasons why it’s awesome: The versatility of the Albott 14-Panel Play Yard is one of its defining characteristics. Set it up in a square, circle, hexagon, or really any shape that will fit in your space to keep the kids interested. This playpen is both stable and secure thanks to the suction cup feature that helps the pieces lock into place. It’s also fairly compact when folded up, so it’s simple to store away when not in use.

This playpen does not come with a mat or pad, so make sure to place it on a carpeted surface or invest in a separate mat to use with your child.

Ideal for: Larger spaces and infants of all ages.

7.Hiccapop PlayPod

The Hiccapop PlayPod is the perfect playpen for the outdoors thanks to its waterproof fabric and machine-washable cover. There’s no need to fret over wear and tear or stains thanks to the fabric’s resilience and simplicity of care. Two large doors provide easy access to the interior of the playpen, even for older children who may still prefer to crawl. This playpen is great for both indoor and outdoor use thanks to its nonslip feet.

However, keep in mind that at its full 4.5-foot height, this playpen isn’t as roomy as some of the alternatives available for babies and toddlers. It’s convenient for traveling parents and those with modest living quarters.

When used in constrained quarters, it excels.

FAQs about Baby Playpens

1.Do I need to get a playpen for my baby?

You don’t have to force yourself into any particular role as a parent. However, a playpen is something that should be owned by every parent. Baby playpens are helpful to have around because they provide a secure area to leave your child in while you go do something else. Many playpens can be used for more than one thing, and you can find models that will grow with your child.

2.How much do baby playpens cost?

The cost of a baby playpen is highly variable and will be determined by several factors, including the specific playpen you select. Playpens can be purchased for as little as $70 to $100, with the higher end of the price range reaching up to $200 to $300. It is possible to locate a low-cost alternative that does not compromise on quality.

3.Are playpens good for babies?

It’s great to give mom and dad a break, and having a secure spot to put the baby down so you can do so is a must. However, confinement for extended periods of time or when the baby is unattended is not something we advise. Playpens are helpful for children who need to be supervised while playing, or for those times when you need to leave your child for a moment to attend to something else, like a pet or another child.

4.Which baby playpens are the best?

Your baby’s playpen needs will determine which one is the best. The Graco Pack N Play is a good option if you need a portable playpen that can also serve as a travel crib. If you need something larger for indoor use, though, consider the Albott 14-Panel Play Yard.

Toddler play yard, Baby play yard, Baby play areas

5.Are baby playpens washable?

While the answer to this question will vary depending on the specific playpen model, most can be cleaned in some fashion. Certain fabric choices have removable covers that can be washed in the washing machine, while others can be cleaned on the spot. All you need to do to clean the plastic baby gate-style playpens is wipe them down with some Windex or another suitable cleaning solution. For detailed instructions on how to clean a baby playpen, please refer to the manual that came with your unit.

6.Are baby playpens useful for travel?

Yes! Having a portable baby playpen is a great convenience to have when visiting relatives or visiting new places. Although hotels are not necessarily designed with babies in mind, you can rest assured that your child will be safe in a portable playpen or crib that you bring along.


Ultimately, the market is flooded with baby playpens that are safe, effective, and within budget. The best option for your family’s specific needs is out there, so don’t stress about making a decision when faced with so many excellent possibilities. Think about the ages of your children, how much money you have, and what your plans are before purchasing a baby playpen.

A safe and sturdy playpen is an essential item for any household with young children. However much you may long to keep your newborn in your arms at all times, there will inevitably be times when you must leave them in the care of others; in such cases, having a secure enclosure in which to leave them will give you peace of mind.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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