Having a professional nanny in your home whether on a part time or full-time basis can be a huge help in getting and keeping your little ones on a solid schedule and daily routine. It is important for both you and your nanny to be on the same page with this. Children thrive and do well when they have a regular and consistent routine. There are of course Holidays and special occasions that come up in all families lives that will alter this from time to time, and that is perfectly fine. A regular routine means their usual daily lives and activities. When you hire a nanny, you may already have a schedule in place that works for you. If this is the case, be sure to discuss it with your nanny in detail. You may be a new parent or simply not have a solid routine yet in place. Often parents can receive valuable input from an experienced nanny on how to set and keep a routine, as well as what routines work best for each age and phase that your children will go through. Keeping the lines of communication open is so important between parents and nanny to keep the children on a healthy daily routine.
If you have hired an experienced nanny, it is always good to ask her what her typical routine has been like with children of the same age. Nannies who have been in the profession for several years have found that many nap times and such tend to be the same. For example, babies taking two naps a day, and preschool and kindergarten age children taking one afternoon nap. During the toddler and early preschool phase this one afternoon nap on average is 2.5 to 3 hours. A parent who has not experienced this age group before might otherwise be alarmed by this when in reality it is quite healthy and normal. A simple discussion with your nanny will give you the peace of mind that when children this age grow out of the two naps their one nap becomes a solid stretch, and they actually sleep better at night when they get their proper nap. Take into account information that your nanny is willing to share with you when creating your own routines and schedules for your children, while also discussing what is important to you with time frames, bed times, and each child’s unique needs.
It is important to be on the same page with your nanny on schedules for several reasons. If your nanny has your toddler 35 hours a week Monday-Friday and puts he or she down for their nap from 1-3:30 PM, and on the weekends you do not put the child down for an afternoon nap this can create a problem come Monday. Not only will you have a cranky and over tired child, but one that has fallen out of their regular routine and has trouble getting back into it. This can create frustration for both you and your nanny. The same happens if the opposite occurs and you are putting your child down for consistent afternoon naps, but your nanny is not making nap time a priority. Both scenarios create inconsistency for the child. It is a good idea to sit down and discuss your ideas on daily routines and schedules working as a team to create healthy habits for your little ones. Many preschool age children will thrive on a routine of going out for morning activities, having lunch, winding down, and then taking their afternoon nap. Babies do well with activities between their morning and afternoon naps. If you have both you of course must make adjustments and work out a routine that works best for both ages. The point is to be consistent. If a child is having weekend nap time at 4pm it is unlikely that your nanny will be able to get them settled for a 2 PM nap. A great way to keep each other informed is by logging daily routines. You can do this with an app if you choose, or with an old-fashioned journal. This can help both you and your nanny see any regular patterns and habits of the children and be able to note on days when things were out of sorts. If your child is in preschool or has other activities on a schedule be sure to keep a calendar. If you have to adjust nap times and lunch times here and there based on wake-up times and that day’s activities that is ok within reason. For example, putting your child down at 2 pm instead of the usual 1 pm because you had a special play date planned is not going to create a problem.
Schedules are also important if your child has specific dietary needs or restrictions. Be sure to inform your nanny of these things and tackle them as a team. Keeping a daily log helps you know what your child’s day has been like with your nanny and allows your nanny to know if the weekend was particularly hectic or out of the norm. As your child grows, take the time to sit down together to discuss changes in routine, ideas, and what works and what isn’t working. Children feel safe and protected when they know what is coming next in their day. No two days are exactly alike, but on an average day the timing of their routines should be. Your nanny is a partner in your child’s development and well-being. Staying on the same page with schedules can go a long way in keeping you and your nanny happy and organized, and your children healthy, rested, learning, and thriving! The same applies to school age children who are not of napping age when it comes to extracurricular activities, your preferred homework schedule, and free time. Creating consistent habits and keeping communication open will keep everyone happy and life running smoothly!
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro