I'm a nanny, working with a 16-month-old girl. Since she was 11 months old she started with some activities, French class and play classes. Now she is really busy, with classes every weekday, each day in a different time (Monday 4 to 4:45pm, Tuesday 10:45 to 11:20, Wednesday 3:30 to 4:15, and so on).

I'm worried because there is no way to put her in a routine, she has no right time to wake up in the morning (if her mother has to go to work earlier, she can wake up at 7h, if she wants to sleep a bit more, she will wake the child near 8h), and with her new agenda, she just sleeps when she is too tired. And her parents want to put her in even more activities... How can I help her?

  • Do the parents want her to have a routine where she wakes and naps and such at the same time each day? People in favor of routines often can't imagine anyone wouldn't be, but I know lots of parents who don't think Getting On A Routine is actually important. (Though in my experience such people don't sign toddlers up for any classes, much less 5 a week.) If they care ask them to help you work out what the routine will be around these classes. If they don't, that's that.
    – Chrys
    Jan 20, 2014 at 23:27
  • 3
    There is a lot of research behind sleep and how it is enhanced by regularity - even for adults is there a way to bring it up "casually" and discover if they are even award of this? Jan 21, 2014 at 0:26
  • The Monday and Wednesday classes are virtually the same time as each other. Do a little research as to what's going on locally in the mod-afternoon on Tuesday, and you may find something that her parents are keen to "swap" her onto. Rather than making big changes to her schedule, it may be possible to make small tweaks here and there.
    – tobyink
    Jan 21, 2014 at 11:42
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    Poor kid. Play classes? Can't she just play? Jan 21, 2014 at 13:00

3 Answers 3


While routine may have benefits, the most important thing is to make sure the child gets plenty of sleep. A lot of children who have older siblings end up with no routine because their "schedule" is arranged around those of their older brothers and sisters. My older child had a routine at this age, but when the second one came along, the kids would not always nap at the same time, or the older one might have preschool or a playdate which meant we were out and about and the younger child was along for the ride. Also, if Dad worked late, the kids might stay up a bit late to see him before they went to bed, and then they would sleep late the next morning.

You could speak to the parents about it, but usually parents who hire a nanny prefer the nanny to follow their lead rather than the other way around.

To help the girl you are caring for then, continue to pay attention to signs of tiredness and make sure she gets the naps she needs. There is probably nothing you can do about when the parents put her to bed and when they wake her up.


In my opinion, a nanny's task is to "Help the parents by helping the child(ren) in the manner by which the parents want to raise the child(ren)."

I'd also make one more presumption: When the parents interviewed you for the position, they expressed some of their desires on how to raise their child.

That being the case and with the information you've exposed in your question, I think it's safe to make some assumptions:

  1. These parents clearly care about their child
  2. These parents clearly care about their child's development and success

What I definitely can't assume is if you are aware of their frustrations (we don't always share those upfront). Perhaps the mother feels like she works too much and can't -- as much as she wants to -- establish a complete schedule for her child. In this area, could you help?

Based on what you've written, it may behoove you to sit down with the parents and ask what else they would like for their daughter. Ask what they would like to see for her and wish they had more time or opportunity for. By getting them to tell you what they want, you may be able to find that what you're hoping for is the same thing they are hoping for and then you will have an opportunity to offer assistance. Having such a chatty conversation may also allow you to drop in informational comments about regularity of schedule or any other things you see can best help the child. Since they love their daughter and clearly want the best for her, they very well may adopt the idea -- and, an idea we feel is our own is one we feel we own.

If the parents feel that you are helping them in helping their child in the way they want their child to be raised, then they will feel that you are truly fulfilling the role they hoped for, even if it wasn't the role they were able to best-express initially.


Sleep and Naps are very important. That is how we retain informaion - all the information they are giving her. How much it depends on the child. Since you are the nanny that is the report you give back to the parents. Is she tired, does she need more naps, more sleep time?

As for the teaching, two things:
1) As long as the kid cooperates I see no harm.

2) A person must TEACH the kid. There is really no sense of learning if you just put a child in front of a TV or Ipad to learn. This is what you call self-learning and not a class. If this is happening dont worry the kid will grab what she wants. Babies and Kids love to learn from people - to imitate. If this is happening just keep an eye on her safety and if she really wants to learn from that teacher. If not report and replace the teacher.

  • One more thing that is important. Play!! Jan 22, 2014 at 19:56

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