Crib/Pack 'N Play for Time-Outs

Updated on April 10, 2012
C.B. asks from San Pablo, CA
19 answers

I have seen several times people suggesting using the crib or pack 'n play or play pen for time-outs for very young children. I had always been told not to do that because then the child will associate the crib or pack 'n play with punishment and it will create a problem when you try to put the child to bed in the crib or in the pack 'n play to play.


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

I used the pack n play for early time-outs and never had a problem putting him in there for naps or just to play. He saw us doing whatever it was we'd been doing so knew he was missing out, the point I intended to make, and he learned, sometimes all we had to say was, "Do you want a time-out?" and he'd shake his head "no" and stop doing the negative behavior he was doing. Once he was able to scale the sides he earned a spot in the corner (every room has a corner) and does time-outs there.

Interestingly when I packed up his pack n play and it was in sight for awhile before I gave it away he would go up to it and say lovingly, "Awwww, my playpen!" : ) So I know he had no bad feelings towards it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

We never have used the crib or pack and play for time outs. (4 y. o. son and 2 1/2 y. o. daughter) We have the bottom step of the stairs set up as the time out location. They know (after a few false starts) that they have to sit on the step for their time out. No toys. Nothing to watch. Very boring.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

I would never use the crib, pack and play or even a child's own bedroom for a time out. That makes them associate what should be a calm space with being angry and worked up (which is how the usually start a time out...). But I also think that if the child is still crib-age or young enough for a pack and play, the child is probably too young for a time out! Time outs are for children who are able to understand fully that their behavior in doing X created the unpleasant and undesirable result Y, namely, time out. Kids who are still crib age are probably too young to make that clear connection in their minds. Unless a child is still in the crib as old as three (which is another issue I'd have, since a child big enough to climb out shouldn't be in a crib anyway....)

ADDED: Someone posted, "I don't think a crib aged child is too young to be disciplined." I agree. I'm just saying that time outs are not necessariily appropriate for very young kids because they don't always.have the reasoning ability to connect their actions with the consequences given. It's fairly sophisticated thinking in a child to understand that "Because I did X, the thing Y that I don't like happened and I do not want that again, so next time I will not do X." I doubt any kid small enough to be in a crib gets that. I think some crib time outs seem to work because they calm down the child and the child stays there willingly because it's a place of security they know, but I don't know that the child really "gets" that being put in that place is intended to be an unpleasant consequence he or she should not want to happen again.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

with previous groups in my daycare, I have used the packNplay for timeouts. For me, it is a "safe zone"...a place of comfort. Once the crying is done, then we "talk" about the issue.

I do believe that....even young ones....can comprehend yes/no....& right/wrong. :) It's all in the presentation!



answers from Sacramento on

Depends. Is time-out punishment, or is it a time to allow the child to get himself or herself under control. Read the article at the top of today's page to get a great definition of the word 'discipline'. We use the sleeping cots for our daycare as a place to go if we see that one of the problems with the child's behavior is that they are getting too tired to deal appropriately with things. We simply ask the child if they need some time to rest on their cot. If you are at all acting angry when you put your child into the crib, then it's going to come off like punishment, but if you simply let them know that you think they need some time to rest and get their emotions under control, it should work.



answers from St. Louis on

I do this with my son as he is in a "hitting and throwing" stage at 14 months. It hasn't affected his sleeping yet. In fact he was having more of a problem sleeping BEFORE i started doing this. I mean I guess it is technically a time out as it gives him a chance to change environments from the negative behavior. I always get him once he calms down which is literally 30 seconds to 1 minute. He is reducing the amount of hitting he is doing (not so much throwing but I think that has to do with other reasons) because he is starting to absorb that if he keeps doing it, fun play time ends and he will be moved somewhere else.



answers from Chicago on

I did this with my son when he hit or pulled hair. I only had to do it a few times before he stopped the unwanted behavior.

He LOVES his bed, and his sleep.And when he is upset, he takes himself off to his bed for comfort. It had no negative impact.

Also, it was literally, you put the kid in, leave, then walk back in.



answers from Madison on

all my kids used their pack n play for time outs and one even used the high chair...none of them fight to go into the high chair or into bed...and kids are very good at learning and are smarter then most of them make us I don't think a crib aged child is too young to be disciplined.



answers from Dallas on

i did it. don't ask me why, lol, not b/c anything bad or detrimental happened, but i'd heard the same thing & did it anyway. it was an easy way of containment/confinement (i know that's horrible!) for a minute. he's 3 now. i PROMISE i never had a prob getting him in bed for nap or nighttime & still don't. there were no adverse affects for me or him is basically what i'm saying. good luck mama :)



answers from Seattle on

I used my sons crib for timeouts starting at apx age 1... Up until age 3.5 ish when he went to a double bed.

He LOVED his crib, and the timeouts were a big part of that. It was his safe place, where he went to calm down. If anything sleep was faaaaar easier once I started using his crib for timeouts, because he was being 'trained' to calm down in it. Whether he was in trouble, upset, melting down... Or whether he was wound up, giggly, etc.. It was the place for bringing everything down a notch (or 6).

We never did the minute per year old thing, though. To come off of timeout one had to actually BE calm, be able to talk about what happened, and have some ideas as to what to do next time, and be ready to put things right.



answers from Des Moines on

I used a pack n play for timeouts that was separate from where he slept, to keep the difference clear in his mind. Does he sleep in his crib at home? If so, just set up pack n play in your room or hallway or something and do timeouts in there.


answers from Houston on

I agree with not using the crib for anything but naps/sleep/quiet time. We used a little time out chair. If the child is still using a pack n play, they are probably really too young to even grasp the concept of a time-out.

The psychology is the same for adults, not to do homework, reading and such in bed because it can interfere with the routine of sleep.



answers from Minneapolis on

I use my son;s crib for his time outs. That's the safest place for him , so he goes there. He screams until I go back and pick him up. He is not a great sleeper but I don't think putting him on time outs in the crib has affected his sleeping in a negative way. He likes his crib and I also leave him there sometimes when I need to get something done for few mins, and he sits and plays in there.



answers from Washington DC on

We used a corner in the kitchen. She was only there for a minute or two and I didn't want her to associate the sleeping areas with discipline.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Um...I think it depends. A young toddler needs a "safe" place to calm down and a crib or pack & play would be just that. Like it a child hits, bites and you say "no hitting" and pop him into the pack & play for 2 minutes then walk away.
Once they "get it" you could use a step, a corner, etc....


answers from San Francisco on

Putting my son in a pack n play as a time out just lead to him figuring out how to climb out of it - by the time he was 18 months old it was useless piece of equipment because we used it that way. If your LO is a climber that's something to think about.


answers from San Francisco on

If a child is young enough to still be in a crib or pack and play then they will really not get the concept of a time out.
Time outs only work when the child understands that there are CONSEQUENCES of their behavior/choices, and babies just don't have that cognitive ability.



answers from Columbia on

Do children fear their room if they are sent to it?

Do they fear paper/pencils if they are made to write sentences?

I'm sure there may be some association, but that would depend on the understanding of the child and how well the punishment was communicated. "Only babies have to stay in a crib" versus "You are in time out for 2 minutes to think about why kicking the dog is wrong".



answers from Los Angeles on

I thought that with my first but sort of got over it with my second.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions