What to Do When Your Child Falls Asleep During Independent Playtime

What to Do When Your Child Falls Asleep During Independent Playtime. How do you handle naps after a child slept during independent playtime.

toddler sleeping on floor with LEGOs

Independent playtime is one of my favorite facets of following On Becoming Babywise. It has so many benefits for your child and allows you some time each day to be alone to do what you need.

There are times my kids will fall asleep during independent playtime. This can feel stressful because you don’t know what to do about it.

I find this to be a benefit of independent play when it happens every once in a while.

If Brayden woke early in the morning for some reason, is sick, or just needs more sleep due to a growth spurt, he can lay down and sleep during independent play. It is a rare occasion, but it happens.

What to Do When Your Child Falls Asleep During Independent Playtime
Kaitlyn sleeping during Independent Playtime

What To Do When Kids Fall Asleep During Independent Playtime

When my kids fall asleep for independent play, I just wake them and continue on with the day as usual.

For Brayden (3 years old), I know that when he falls asleep for independent play he is either sick or just plain tired. I still put him down for his nap at his normal time.

For Kaitlyn (now 14 months), her independent play ends pretty close to her nap time (about 15-20 minutes before), and I am pretty surprised to find her asleep, but it happens sometimes.

I always get her up and put her in her bed and she takes a normal nap. She is the type that will do that though.

If your child falls asleep on occasion during independent play, decide what is best for him.

Some might need a little longer wake time before the regular scheduled nap.

I think for most, though, they are falling asleep because they are tired. So a normal nap can still happen.

If you have recently moved to one nap a day or have dropped a different nap, your child might fall asleep during playtime because your child is still adjusting to having less daytime sleep.

So, to review, if your child falls asleep from time to time, keep your normal wake time length and normal nap schedule.

If that doesn’t work for your child, try to lengthen wake time length by short bits until you find a timing that works for your child.

When Your Child Falls Asleep Regularly

If your child regularly falls asleep during independent playtime, evaluate your timing of naps and independent play.

Your timing of this playtime is probably off somehow.

You might need to have independent play start earlier or end sooner. While it is okay for them to fall asleep sometimes, you don’t want it to be regularly.

If you have a video monitor, then you could watch your child and see if he is falling asleep at the same time each day. If you do not have a video monitor, just start going in five minutes earlier, then ten, etc. to see if you can catch your child before he falls asleep.


Independent playtime is a valuable part of your day when your child plays alone. If your child falls asleep during this time on occasion, that is nothing to stress about. Simply continue on with your schedule as usual.

If your child consistently falls asleep, try having it at a different time of day, start it sooner, or make sure you get into the room sooner before your child falls asleep.

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