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Mobile baby, frustrated toddler - I need a playpen, don't I?

(13 Posts)
whenwilltherebegoodnews Wed 08-May-13 13:40:41

Baby is 10 months, crawling for 2 weeks and already causing chaos. DD is getting fed up of him trashing her toys. She plays brilliantly with him and is very patient but sometimes wants to be left in peace. What do I do?!

I can sometimes persuade her to play in her room but otherwise should I get a playpen, or use the travel cot? We don't have much room. Ideas please!

meandtheboys Wed 08-May-13 16:39:02

Hmmm I don't know about needing a play pen. How old is your toddler? My DS was 4 when DS2 became mobile and I haven't needed a play pen. Not a big fan of them really because I am a big believer that the sooner a baby can safely navigate around the home the better. They need to explore their surroundings to learn and develop. Obviously it depends massively on your DD and whether your baby would be happily left to play in one. Both mine would have been frustrated and wanted out straight away but they've both been rather tricky babies and toddlers who needed constant interaction.

I think play pens are OK in moderation but my friend's sister had one for her youngest son, she had 2 older boys and the poor youngest was literally put in his play pen from the moment he'd had his breakfast, came out for meals and plonked straight back in again. She was actually trying to minimise the risk of the baby getting hurt and also trying to show the older boys that they weren't being replaced by the baby but it turned into her youngest practically being ignored until he was about 2. He was massively behind on his speech and motor skills. Obviously this is an extreme case and I'm not suggesting you'd do the same but do remember that the sooner your toddler and baby get a long and learn to share, explore etc the easier it is in the long run.

Tailtwister Wed 08-May-13 17:45:37

You're bringing back hideous memories OP!

Yes, it's all coming flooding back now. We had the same problem with DS2 wrecking everything DS2 was playing with. We didn't have room for a playpen, so if memory serves we used to take advantage of his nap times for Lego etc. I read to them a lot at that stage too and spent as much time out of the house as I could. As he got older, DS1 decided that his room was a good place to take refuge and that worked for a long time.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 08-May-13 18:38:19

Little ones need stimulation and interaction. Some people feel it's better to baby-proof their homes rather than restrict DCs exploring and in theory their offspring then treat other people's homes with respect.

I don't think OP was suggesting using a cot or playpen as an exclusion zone. In a 20 minute burst you can get things done and DD can have peace without affecting DS's speech and motor skills. Long term though a good stair-gate and encouraging DD to keep her things out of her little brother's way might work best.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 08-May-13 18:40:41

Sorry that s/b
I don't think OP was suggesting using a cot or playpen as a sensory exclusion zone.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 08-May-13 18:41:32

One idea I quite like is getting a large playpen that the older one can go into if they want to play alone, instead of putting the baby in it.

whenwilltherebegoodnews Wed 08-May-13 19:41:25

I like that idea TeWi!

Of course, I don't want to plonk the baby in a playpen all day, but he has become so mobile, so quickly that I do need to keep him safe and I can't always watch him the way I did when I just had one. And DD (who is 3.6) does need some respite from him. She's at nursery when he has his big nap in the afternoon and at weekends I like to bake/do crafty things with her too.

House is baby proofed so a good mix of play pen, teaching him what not to go near hmm and letting them get on with it will see us through. I hope! Thanks for all the suggestions.

Believeitornot Wed 08-May-13 19:46:31

They'll have to get used to each other. Why don't you change her hours at nursery so she just does mornings?
And make your home safer so the crawler can't get into too much trouble.

I have a 17 month old and 3.6 year old - I do feel your pain. We had a playpen but didn't use it. Our living room is very safe (no book shelves, no access to wiring, tv is fixed to the wall) and we have strategically placed stair gates. I used the highchair if I needed to keep DD with me while I did something. I would keep a close eye on both of them when they were playing to get them used to each other - well DS used to his baby sister. Now it is much easier!

whenwilltherebegoodnews Wed 08-May-13 20:03:04

I'm sure it will get easier!

Can't chose pre-school hours, you get what you're given - but mornings from August.

Catypillar Wed 08-May-13 20:13:42

My mum did what TeWi suggested when I was 4.5 and my sister was about 8-10 months- I sat in the playpen with my jigsaws and lego, sister happily crawled about without eating jigsaw pieces and lego.

ShowMeTheCoffee Wed 08-May-13 20:24:00

We had a similar problem when DD started crawling. DS was 3. I would tell him that he had to give DD a toy so she would be distracted from his toys. It worked really well. He would get her a bunch of "baby" toys, put them in one corner of the room, and then do his thing in another corner of the room. As someone else suggested, we also only allowed DS to play with Lego when DD was sleeping (he soon became v interested in her nap times wink ).

Indith Wed 08-May-13 20:27:01

I used to put the toddler in the big, wooden playpen so he could build his train track in peace while the baby crawled around smile

Indith Wed 08-May-13 20:31:40

I think needing them totally depends on house set up and age gap etc. I've lived in a lot of houses, some had areas that could easily be designated and some didn't and really needed the playpen to do the job of making a safe zone. I have a crawling baby again now and though I got the travel cot out as a safe place to stick him while I shower I've ended up not using it at all. I really need to put it away! I don't use it because I have bigger age gap this time so big ones are 6 and 4 and able to understand that if they want to play without the baby they do it at the dining room table or in their bedrooms.

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