Long post but need nap time/quiet time advice

Hi everyone!

I would really appreciate your advice on my current situation:

I work for a 2 kids (2yrs and almost 7mos). The baby is having a hard time with naps, well, I guess they both are. The baby will sleep her morning naps just fine in her crib but her afternoon nap is a struggle. She wakes up after 20 minutes crying and clearly still tired. Sometimes I can rock her back to sleep and she sleeps for another hour or two, but most of the time she won't fall back asleep but is still tired, and will then only sleep if I'm holding her. I have tried everything I can think of to get her to sleep in her crib for a full nap: rocking her back to sleep multiple times, keeping her up longer before the afternoon nap, getting her up after the 30 minutes. Nothing seems to work except holding her. Now, her afternoon naps have always line up with the older one's naps. She has always taken small morning naps and a long afternoon nap. I'm fine holding her, and MB actually seems to encourage it (she says the older one did the same thing around this age and phased through it).

Here's my problem: the 2YO seems to be phasing out of naps altogether. They are so inconsistent timewise and sometimes she will just sit in her crib and not even take a nap. But I've come across the following situation twice recently: I'm holding the baby and he toddler wakes up crying and screaming. The first time I went in and picked her up, brought her into the baby's room with me and told her she had to be super quiet while the baby slept. It kind of worked because she's a good listener but inevitably she woke up the baby. Then the baby was cranky. I talked to MB about how long to let the toddler do independent play in situations like this and she said it's my call because we both agree that the baby needs her sleep. So the second time (today), the toddler was so upset so I had to put the baby down and go comfort her. I explained to her as much as I could that the baby needs to sleep so she would need to play or read books (she's VERY smart for her age, but she's still young, so she doesn't totally understand). She was hysterical (but so was the baby at this point), but calmed down after like 5-10 minutes and is now playing like I asked. I had to walk away from her crying because nothing I said or did calmed her doen except just removing myself. I don't know what to do, I definitely don't ever want the toddler to be that upset but it's also so important for the baby to get sleep. Is it bad to just let the toddler cry for that amount of time? What would you do in this situation?

Like I said, she eventually calms down but it's brutal when she's upset like that. I don't know if it's relevant, but MB and I both agree that when she stops napping, she will have to do quiet time in her room during nap time. She needs that time to decompress, but I don't know how to transition her to that mindset when she still does take occasional naps.

Thank you all for reading, I love hearing from experienced nannies!


Ask the parents what works for them on the weekend. And ask them how they want you to handle it.

For me I would try running and running the older one around all morning. Have the baby come along and nap while you are wearing her ( not ideal ). And then get the older one down for a nap afte 2 yo is worn out and let baby get good sleep then?

Sorry not very helpful. It's been a while since I've had little ones.

Otherwise is there something special you can give 2yo to do when you are holding baby?

I'm so not a fan of screen time but maybe 2 yo gets 29 min of screen time while you get baby down?

Thanks! I tried asking the parents and they think that keeping the schedule is important as well. I like the idea of totally wearing her out, thanks!

When my current Nk was around 2 we thought she was trying to give up nap time. She would stand on her head, sing, role around in her crib I would leave her in there for about and hour to and hour and a half just to keep her schedule. I never put things in her crib or let her take things to bed with her. I kept this up for a month or so sticking with her normal routine and she started napping again. It could be that your Nk is giving up nap time or it could just be a phase. Kids at this age have discovered that they are an independent person and are testing what they can do. I'd give it some time and stick to the current schedule before giving up nap time. We finally stopped nap time a few months ago when she turned five and in stead do quiet time when she's home. I made a special box with her that she got to paint and decorate. I told her it was her special toy box and each day she could pick somethings out to put in it that she could use at quiet time. We made a big deal out of it and she was so excited. She loves quiet time and knows she only gets to play with what's in the special toy box, has to be quiet, and if she gets bored or tired she can sleep too. Her quiet time is only an hour.

Id have the 7month old nap on the go (stroller or car seat) that way she doesn't get even more used to being held while sleeping. Keep the 2yr old very busy and active. That way both will have nice afternoon naps. Sounds like the 7 month old needs to learn to self soothe and cry it out. And IMO, 2 yr old still needs a nap. You need a break during the day to collect yourself. Both should be napping on their own. May take some time, especially for the baby, but consistency is key. Good luck! :)