Need Your Advice - How to "Train" 18 Mo Old to Sleep in Pack N Play?

Updated on March 15, 2011
M.O. asks from Barrington, IL
8 answers

Our son loves his crib. The last time we went on a long weekend vacation he slept horribly and consequently made us all miserable. We were exhausted, he was napping more during the day when we wanted to be out having fun and our whole weekend ended up a bust due to his not wanting to sleep in the pack n play.

I am hoping we can "train" him to nap in it. Has anyone ever done this? I don't want every vacation to be a miserable experience just because he's not in his crib at home.

Would love your advice.

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answers from Dallas on

Packnplays look horribly uncomfortable. If you can bring his crib mattress with you, especially if it fits in the packnplay, that may work. Or even just having his mattress along - something that's his may help. If you can't, I'd call where you are staying and find out if they have a mini-mattress or something. We went on a vacation once and the hotel had a little portable fold out bed. I took the mattress off it and put it on the floor next to the bed. Worked well. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

The mattress in a pack n play is so thin. You really need to make it more comfortable. You can try and put a folded up comforter on the mattress and under the sheet. Take a sheet from home which was on his crib, that way it will smell the same.
Take the jammies he wore at home as well, again the smell will help him feel more relaxed and comfortable. Take some soft toys from home as well, even if he's not really attached to anything, having familiar things around will certainly help him.

Kiddo's can take up to week to feel comfortable enough to fall asleep quickly, easily and sleep through the night. It can then take them a little while to settle back down once they get home. It's certainly not unusual.

I hope that helps a little.

R. M. - Parenting Consultant & Children's Sleep Specialist.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

He could just be unhappy being in a different setting. Play and packs seem like they would be pretty uncomfortable after they weigh a little more. There is not much padding.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Not all kids are 'portable' nappers.
Both my kids, were not and are not.
They only napped, at home.
Not on the go.

But, for my son, when we went to a hotel on a long weekend, we got this type of thing and he napped and slept in it:
And he loved it and slept well in it.
But my son was 2 years old at the time.

Mostly though, when it was his nap time I went back to the hotel room with him. And napped.
We kept him on 'his' schedule, per naps and bedtime.
So that, once we came home, he did not get all out of sync with his naps or sleep times.
Some kids, after a trip, will NOT return to their pre-trip sleep schedules/naps.

I don't know about 'training' him to sleep in a pack n' play... unless you only use that and not ever his crib, anymore. But that might just lead him to not sleep/nap, and will upset his existing sleep and nap, routines.

As I said, my kids, were not ever 'portable' nappers. Nor sleepers. And if on the road or in a stroller they would not sleep no matter how tired they were. Then they just got super over-tired and super fussy.

As the other poster said, pack n' plays, are not comfortable.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

My son won't sleep in the Pack N Play anymore. He also won't sleep in the crib the hotels provide. The last time we went away, we finally resorted to having him sleep with us. We resisted because we thought he would have hard time going back to sleep in his crib when we got back, but he didn't.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

I have 2 kids. A 4 year old and a 2 year old and both of them around the age of 18 months went through a phase of hating the pack n play and would just not sleeping good in any other place besides their own crib. We have family out of town so we would go visit often and stay the night but around this age I had to put my foot down and say "No" cause I couldn't stand dealing with a cranky kid. Although I did do a few things different with my 2nd daughter and she seemed to not have as much trouble as my first daughter did. First I would put down a few big blankets to make it nice and soft and put a pillow in there. I also got a crib toy that has soothing lights and plays soft music. by making it more comfortable and having the soft music my 2nd daughter started sleeping in it much better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

practice at home for nap time or even bed time once in awhile. some kids just dont do well on vacations at certain ages, you might have one of those. next year he'll be big enough to sleep in a bed. Mine were already climbing out of the crib at 18 mos and were put in beds.... maybe he'd do better just sleeping on a bed when you travel?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am sure you already have great advice like putting all of his favorite things in there, his favorite uncleaned blanket I recall them loving the smell and perhaps buy an extremely cheap soft pad for underneath or thick blanket. I would suspect those would make him more comfy, those sleepers are HARD! but the catch is unfortunately you are on vacation and he probably doesn't want to miss any thing! Good luck, keep trying.

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