Napping and Nanny Shares

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Successful napping in nanny share

May 2006


We are in a wonderful nanny-share situation with our next door neighbors. Their son is 7+ months; ours is 6.5 months. Our nanny is loving and patient and gentle and the boys like to play together. The problem is that they both have trouble taking decent naps when they are together. I often end up bringing him home for naptime or joining in the effort (i work at home) so that I can be sure to get him to sleep...but this defeats the purpose of trying to work a bit. Any advice for us and our nanny about how to get them both to sleep and to stay asleep longer? (also, we are going to start nap sleep training soon and i worry that this will be impossible for our nanny to do while also caring for another baby. Any ideas?) Thanks!! lisa

Start sleep training now! Your nanny is most likely not super nanny. She or he is most likely not able to solve sleeping issues when there are two children who are being raised by two different families with two distinct ideas on how to put a child down for a nap.

I have worked with families and have tried to put down children for a nap and it can be difficult. It usually helps if at least one child can go down easily for a nap.

I have had scenerios where the two children sleep in different areas of the house, fall asleep in a stroller after a walk (not the side by side stroller) or lay down on a very low bed together with one child on my right side and the other on my left and go through a nap time ritual. Most times one child was easily self entertained with quiet toys or books.

It can be just depends on personalities and successful training in self soothing and sleeping. Nanny in the know


My daughter takes 2 naps a day, other child does not nap

Oct 2005


My 14-month old daughter is in a share situation and she still takes two naps but the other child does not. For scheduling/ activity purposes, my daughter is not getting one of her naps (and is not sleeping well for the other). Consequently, her schedule gets a bit messed up for the next day and a half. I've expressed my concern to the care provider about her getting cheated out of her nap but since then, things haven't really changed nor has the care provider offered up any solutions that accomodate my daughter. What have other people done in this kind of situation? Do I just need to be more flexible and write off the missed naps? anon

The family day care that my son went to from age 5 months to age 3.3 (he just ''graduated'' to preschool in September) managed to let the younger kids nap when they needed to, while having the older kids on more of a regular schedule. So, even when he needed 3 naps per day, they were able to let him take them. Part of what made this possible is that there were two adult caregivers with 6 to 8 kids, so one could be inside with the nappers while the other could be outside with the kids that were awake.

I don't know how you and your child feel about your caregiver other than this one issue, but it's definitely a very important one, so if your caregiver isn't willing to work out a way for your daughter to get the sleep she needs, you might want to think about switching caregivers. I don't know if my son's former day care provider has space for another child right now, but you could give them a call and ask -- Great Start Child Care, run by Bao (rhymes with ''wow'') and Meng Ren, 841-6452. Good luck! Diane

I remember when my son was 14 months and inthe same situation with naps in shared childcare. His nanny suggested it was time to switch him to one nap a day. At first I was upset, because I thought that my son was being forced into something that he was not ready for. But actually, it turned out great. He switched to one earlier, longer afternoon nap rather than a morning and a late afternoon nap, had more play time with the other child, and went to sleep earlier in the evenings. I also realized that two children taking naps at the same time gave their nanny a little bit of down time (actually she usually used the time to pick up toys), which she surely deserved! You might try shifting your child to one nap a day and see how it goes. If you and your nanny work with the same schedule, the transition could work well. If it doesn't go well, you'll know your daughter's not really ready, and you'll all know what to ask for. But the change may be a good one for all concerned. Carolyn

My daughter is in a nanny share with two other toddlers, and the move to one nap is happening at different times with each of them. It's important that each child does this in their own time and that the child care provider accomodate that. It's possible your 14 month old is transitioning, though it would be a little early. If you really think she still needs two naps (mine is 16 months and still taking two) then you may need to reinforce that more strongly with the caregiver, and make sure the place of care can accomodate a sleeping child with a quiet space while the other is up playing. Good Luck


How will 16-mo-old nap at someone else's house?

May 2003


I'm just beginning the process of searching for a care situation for my 16 month old son. I'm looking into probably some kind of sharing situation. My son has never slept anywhere other than his crib, the car and the stroller and I have no idea how he'll be napping at somebody else's house. How are naps handled in a nanny share if it's at somebody else's house? I assume the kid who lives there will go to sleep in his/her own crib, but where does the other baby go? Would it be best for me to have the share only be at my house if he has problems? I'd appreciate any advice you can give me!

In our case, we set up a Pack 'n' Play when the kids were still infants, and our son's nannymate often napped there. Our son, who has always required motion if he isn't nursed to sleep, usually fell asleep in the nanny's carrier -- after which she would put him down in his crib or on blankets on the floor -- or in the stroller. Nowadays, they often both sleep in the double stroller, or one sleeps on the couch and the other on the floor or in my son's bed. Since you say your son will sleep in a stroller, you shouldn't have too much trouble. But it's something that you just work out with the nanny and the other family based on who has what equipment and what the kids' nap habits are. There are lots of possibilities. Holly

Our son naps in his stroller, in his room where it's dark and quiet. When we did a share at another child's house, he napped in a stroller in a quiet room there. He did OK, but now that the share is at our house, he does nap better than he used to b/c his room is darker and quieter than his space in the other house was. You can either have the share only at your house if you're especially concerned, or set up a quiet spot for you son at the other house and let him adjust (and bring his stroller over there, by all means!) At our house, the other kid now naps in a Pack n' Play that's set up in a quiet corner of the living room. In general, he's a heavier sleeper than my son is. But his mom has brought his stroller a few times when he just didn't seem to be napping well in the Pack n' Play. Lisa

I wondered this too when first searching for a nanny share. We have a port-a-crib set up in our bedroom for the other child. The other family has a port-a-crib set up in their dining room for our son. Neither of our houses really have the space for the portacribs, but it's worth the sacrifice to have the nanny, I think. There was an adjustment period, as there will be with any new day-care situation, but now our son naps in the port-a- crib just as well as he does in his own crib. anon

My son was in a nanny share for 2 years and was often at a different house at least twice a week and or the park all day. I noticed that you mentioned your child sleeps in his stroller, well, that is what we used for the nanny share. My son would sleep 2-3 hours in his MacLaren stroller, which was very convenient for the nanny. Pluses: No porta-crib to set-up or break down, she could remain at the park with him sleeping or wheel him into any room of the homes she was at. Can't think of any cons! Maya