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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6 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Child Falls Asleep During Independent Playtime”

  1. since 1 month i am having nap problems , well she was not good at but was no bad. now she is waking after 30 mins and not sleep. sometimes she takes only 45 minutes. very very occasionally she takes 2 hrs with awakening then i goto her swing then she sleeps. she is 4 months. i tried feeding , it didnt help. she sleeps in her swing during daytime and in her cot in my bedroom at nighttime. since 1 month she is giving me problem at night bed time as well. her usual bedtime is 8:30 but she resisted it and not sleeping and waking at 5am. then I realized she might be now not need last fourth nap. if she dropped her nap, what bedtime should it be?at nighttime when she wakes up she is able to sooth herself,but at 6:30 waking or 5am waking she is not able to soothe herself and wakes may be because of light.Before one month she was able to sooth herself at night time bedtime as well by thumbsucking as well.Now everything is messed up, she even now me to sit near her swing and move that swing fast to sleep her up. I am tired and desperate some solution. waiting for ur reply. thanx. I tried CIO sometimes it works , sometimes its not.I even have started 2 weeks ago baby rice but no solution, she is still teasing me. so during daytime i am feeding her every 2 hrs or 2.5 hrs breastfeeding.I read all ur articles on naps

  2. My 10 month old has always had playpen time and did well. She did 30 minutes 1x/day. This week, she HATES independent play time. She cries the entire time. Should I take a week off and retry next week?

  3. Susie,If it were me, I think I would still do it, but cut down the time. You could set a timer so your baby sees that the timer, not the crying, determines when it ends. You could do it for even just 5 minutes.

  4. Valerie, our 23 week old does playpen time for 20 min two times a day and blanket time once a day for 30 min. I find that she falls asleep pretty often during playpen time or looks like she is getting there, even when we do it right after her feeding, so not close to naptime. To be honest, she just seems bored to me. She plays for a short while now only before she just lies there and waits for time to pass. She used to play for the entire time. Maybe she is bored with her toys? We hang them above her because she keeps losing them when she just has them in her hand. She can reach them of course. Also, we rotate the toys so that she plays with the same toy like every 4-5 days. With independent playtime and blanket time we have most of her toys in rotation already and she has quite a few toys. Do you have any idea what we could do? She cannot yet sit by herself.


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