Will it hurt a one year olds development if the crib is used as a place to play with toys, turn cartoons on and shut the door as a way to keep them from under foot several times a day? My grandbaby's daddy does this and I don't like it. I never put my babies in their crib unless ut was bedtime or naptime. This bothers me and worries me at the same time. Am I wrong to feel this way?

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    +1: Would be interested to see any studies on this. Informally, our one-year old goes to war even when we put her down for a regularly scheduled nap, so this technique is never really an option for us, but all the reading I've done suggests she's fine to be left if playing happily. The issue for me would be the TV.
    – deworde
    Apr 30, 2013 at 14:46
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    I can think anecdotally of information about how it is valuable for babies to explore and so even playpens as containers over a long period of time are looked down on today. I am also a big, big proponent of good sleep associations, so for us the crib is exclusively for sleep times. Plus the issue that TV is at best neutral and at worst harmful for the under 2 set. But I don't have any solid data to back up the sleep association thing and the contained space thing.
    – justkt
    Apr 30, 2013 at 16:32

3 Answers 3


The real worry for me would be the television. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that "young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens" -- meaning toddlers should be around people. Putting a toddler in an enclosed space (crib, playpen, baby-fenced-off room) isn't harmful per se, and I often will put my toddler in his playpen while I'm trying to do something else: cleaning, cooking, homework, or just taking a break from Mom Time. But leaving him alone there for long periods of time means he isn't getting time to socialize -- that's extremely important for a one year old, and he flips out if he's caged up and lonely.

Since this is not your child, though, you should probably approach it diplomatically -- mention the scientific basis for avoiding TV for babies, acknowledge that a parent gets exhausted by their child sometimes and needs a break, and then see if everybody together can find a solution that's better for your grandchild.

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    Erica, Yes the interaction with others is my concern and social development. They put videos in like Bambi, Cinderella etc, which we all grew up watching. And the concern I have, you mentioned, feeling lonely. I too, put my babies in playpens, but they were in the room with me, never alone. Thanks, and I do want to be diplomatic as well. I take my Grandbaby every chance I get! It is a special time for me! :-) Thanks for your response! May 1, 2013 at 7:40

Every child is different and has different needs. Ditto that of parents.

My son did not like being left in his crib, and would cry and fuss if he was in it and not ready to sleep. He needed socialization quite desperately so even when he had to be penned up we kept him near someone.

My daughter, who was born when my son was nearly 2, is more introverted, and we find the toys-alone-in-the-crib to be enjoyable for her; she is unhappy if she goes straight to bed without some personal time with some favorite toys. She gets ample "social time" with her brother, and in fact when she starts getting towards nap time she gets very aggravated by him, so some crib time helps everyone's nerves.


Crib time is just as important as socialization. Isolated playtime allows 5 month to 16 month old children time for their own thoughts. Learning to entertain themselves is necessary for learning how to play. Private playtime teaches them independence. Babies need to know that they are separate individuals from others. Make sure the toys are age appropriate and interesting to the child. Fun children's music played in a CD player is better than TV for children. Socialization should include direct eye contact, hugging, speaking directly to the child and caring for their many needs. Reading to them encourages language development. Alternate crib playtime (twenty minutes to a half hour)with family socialization (most of the day time) to prevent loneliness.

  • Looking back at my children, this is far too generalized. I have one child, that always enjoyed some solitude - from day one, actually, one child, that needed company and was desperate to be left alone for even very short time spans.
    – Stephie
    May 25, 2016 at 15:06

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