Advice needed - new charges have no structure?

I just left a job where I was a nanny to a 7-year old, a 5-year-old, and a 2-year-old. They had limits and rules and a daily schedule with the perfect amount of flexibility. It made everything so much more manageable.

I've just started a new position where I'm taking care of a 10-month-old and a 2-year-old, and these kids have very little structure in their daily lives. They have no limit on screen time. When I asked the parents about their preferred method of discipline, they looked at me like I had spoken another language. They let the two-year-old run around all day wearing only a shirt (no underwear or diaper).

They have no set nap time, and they said making the 2-year-old nap is "optional." A few days ago I was watching the kids while the mother was working from home, and I had put the 10-month-old down for his nap. He started crying, as he does every time I put him down. About 10 minutes later, his mom got him out of his room and asked me what was wrong with him. She said if the kids start crying even a little bit when they put them down for their naps, they get them out of bed. This also happened at 2 PM and the baby hadn't had a single nap up to that point. Shouldn't the baby be having a morning and afternoon nap at this age? And shouldn't a little bit of crying be expected/allowed?

I guess I'm really just wondering - how do I get started here? I want to give these kids more structure, but where and how do I begin?


The mother of a boy I watch would have me wake him up after on hour of sleeping. He would still be exhausted.

Crying while napping is how they learn to sleep on their own. I did it so many times now the boy says night night when it's nap time and gets his blanket and sleeps now. He must be trained and naps are necessary at that age

Pick your own schedule and create your own routines.

Wake up, breakfast, clean up, wash up, get dressed, outside time, ....

It's up to you. Figure out what you think will work and tell the kids this is what we are doing. Make it fun and exciting. Do the same thing over and over until it's a routine. So you might have an art activity every day after nap but the actually activity can be something different each day.

Kids love structure and routines. It helps them feel secure.

As for the crying before a nap create another routine ( if you are t already doing it) story, sing a quiet song, rub back what ever and then leave the room.

And don't even turn on the tv iPad whatever they don't need it!!! It's not good for them. Read to them, play music.