Do You Ever Nap at Your Nanny Job?

On the Cafemom web site Michele Zipp asks if it’s wrong to not allow her nanny to take a nap while the kids nap.

She writes, “Was I being an unrealistic ass for thinking it was wrong of her to nap? I mean, my kids were napping. I nap sometimes when they nap. But I’m the mom. I’m in tune with my kids. I wake when they cry out. Would she? And then I remembered that I pay her by the hour. GOOD money, might I add. I live in NYC and nannies get paid well and I know for a fact she’s on the higher end of the going rate. So I am paying her to nap?!

The mother also says,”So now I’m looking for a new nanny. I just feel it’s unsafe if she’s half asleep and really tired when she’s with my kids. What if she falls asleep when at the park and the kids are playing in the sandbox? What if she isn’t alert enough when she’s crossing a busy intersection?”

What would you do? Do you think it’s okay for her to nap on the job?


  1. I do nap at my job because it's a 60 hour week. I don't nap every day. I only nap when the baby naps and laundry and other chores are done. I have fallen asleep in the toddlers bed while reading them a book to fall asleep too. They have NEVER been neglected by me. We don't have lunch breaks like other type of jobs. It's not a big deal. Obviously I would never sleep at the playground like the mom in the article is worried about, that's ridiculous.

  2. How do you fall asleep crossing an intersection? That's really different then napping when the baby is napping.

  3. I would tell the nanny first you don't want her to nap on the job. Since you think she's good with the kids, before replacing her let her know what you expect and give her a chance to change. I think a cat nap on the job is much more appropriate with the thousands of "unprofessional" nannies that watch soap operas all day and complain about their employers to other nannies. Communicate what's bothering you. If she naps after you ask her not too then look for a new caregiver.

  4. I have napped when the little one I look after is sleeping, sometimes a little nap refreshes you! And I have found I sleep pretty lightly so i hear every noise they make! And her parents are fine with it 🙂 I never feel tired at the playground with kids, just when I'm sitting doing nothing! (like when baby is sleeping)-South Africa

  5. Me too Tracy. I take cat nap, I have never actually snored or have been dreaming like real sleeping. I used to work as a live-in and the parents even let me sleep in while they left for work. Sometimes the adjustment from being live-in to live-out change expectations. I agree with Steph6 also that the parent has to clearly explain to the nanny she'd prefer her not nap on the job. Just like any job you should warn them before firing them. I know I would stop if the mom asked me to. I don't think cat naps while kids nap for half an hour are neglecting the kids. I am stealing a quote from the "Be the Best Nanny Newsletter" FB page: "Examples of neglect might be: talking on cell phone while crossing street with kids, texting instead of watching the kids on playground, chatting with friends instead of watching kids outdoors at pool or playground, or watching soap operas instead of age appropriate children's programs while kids are up."

  6. I actually think napping when little ones are napping is a responsible use of time if all other responsibilities are taken care of. Studies have shown the rejuvenating properties of "power naps" in the afternoon – I would much rather have my nanny take a quick nap while the kids are asleep than be groggy all day (or be irresponsible or neglectful in any of the other ways mentioned above)! A refreshed nanny will be much more "on" for the kids when they are awake. I think you'd get better results (with happier kids) if the nanny could take a little nap, too. Taking care of small children all day is exhausting (from 15 years nanny experience and almost 3 years mommy experience – I know!). I would definitely make sure a nanny knew napping was not allowed before firing her for doing it. As for pay, I think it should be considered a perk of the job and like I said before, paying for that cat nap now may give back much higher dividends over time.

  7. I just think it's hypocritical to say that you (the Mom) takes naps but the nanny can't. She absolutely shouldn't got o work expecting to nap or sleep there! Typically I'm running around way too much because there isn't enough time in the day to do all I have to do. But occasionaly I rest my head on the sofa and don't think I should be fired for it.

  8. Sherri:I don't nap at my Nanny job. How nice it would be too, take a lil nap though, to recharge my batteries as the children are napping, to scared too, here in FL there have been (sitters/family members) that have napped and the child has woken up and went outside to either drown in a pool or lake near them. Scary…most of my families have top locks to avoid this situation and I am thrilled they do. Debbie:I don't nap in bed when kids are awake. I OCCASIONALLY lay on the sofa for a few minutes after chores are done waiting for baby to wake up w/ baby monitor in hand. Sara:I do not nap at work ! I find it highly unprofessional & a definite safety issue. I work 55 hours a week for now 18 month old twins. They take a mid-day 3 hour nap. I eat lunch, do laundry & other misc chores. Nanny:Nope.Never even considered it. Besides no time. Too busy. Sarah:When I know all three (2 1/2 & 3 month old twins) asleep I will take five/ten minute naps. When at work I hv sensitive ears so the littlest noise wakes me. I need to recharge. The parents are cool with it. I m not laying in a bed with no monitor I am on sofa with monitor and babies right nxt to me. In some countries they shut down to nap. Kristi:Nope, napping is definately not allowed. I'm having trouble even convincing my boss to let me sit and eat lunch while the kids are napping. She seems to think I should be on my feet, and busy doing extra work (that is NOT part of my job) li…ke the dinner dishes from the night before, the parents laundry, etc. I don't know about sleeping on the job, so I'm fine without a nap, but a little down time would certainly be nice (most people do get an hour lunch break…). 55 hours a week with a 4 yr old, 3 yr old, and 2 yr old special needs child is EXHAUSTING!!Debbie:Examples of neglect might be: talking on cell phone while crossing the street with kids, texting instead of watching the kids on playground, chatting with friends instead of watching kids outdoors at pool or playground, or watching soap ope…ras instead of age appropriate children's programs or playing with the kids. cat nap (not fully asleep) while kids are napping is completely different. But of course if the parents said they have a problem with 10 – 30 min cat naps I wouldn't do it.Linda:I will NOT take a job if i am SPECIFICALLY told that I cannot have a nap, if I need one, or at least have some down time while the kids are sleeping! My DB works from home and if he comes down and the movements wake me, he says sorry!! They… know how hard it is to chase after kids for 10 hours. Live out nannies have an even longer day because some commutes are long and stressful! Control freaks like this Mom clearly wants to dictate things that should be left to discretion which we ALL have as nannies. I rarely sleep for more than 15 minutes, and always do so near the monitor.

  9. Sarah:At my job I have a room with a bed, ( however, I am not a live-in) and was told I could nap. I never do though, because I'm always afraid I won't hear the baby when he wakes up, even though I have a monitor in hand. Kari:Anyone who thinks it is ok to nap while working is CRAZY! And we want to be treated as professionals?? Try getting work in another field and tell your boss you need to Nap daily! many jobs you don't get downtime.. Its a part of life.. Part of working… Kat:It's NOT crazy. If you are too tired to function, then you are not really coherant enough to take care of your kids, and sometimes you just need it. Sometimes I do nap, If I haven't slept well the night before. My parents don't care if I do, I never sleep longer than 30 minutes and the kids nap 2 1/2 hours. I'm a very light sleeper. Everyone in almost every job gets to leave work for a lunch break- What you decide to do on your lunch break is up to you. If you want to nap, then so be it. If the kids are sleeping, there's no reason why we shouldn't be allowed to take our "lunch break" and rest our eyes for a few minutes.Taylor: I only nap if I'm sick and the kids are at school. My employers weigh the trouble of me taking a sick day versus me taking a nap while the kids aren't even home and decide it's worth it. Deborah:Almost everyday I take a nap while my charge naps. It's wonderful! One of the perks of being a nanny 🙂 Michelle:I nap when or if I need to while my charges are taking their nap. None of my bosses have ever had a problem with it, in fact most of them have encouraged me to do whatever I want during nap time. As long as the things we've agreed upon in our contract are getting done and the children are happy and healthy and progressing the parents leave the hows and whats of the day to my discretion. Kathie:I think there is a different perspective if you are a live in or a live out nanny. I live out and would never consider napping on the job; if you live in it is your home also and I think the expectations are a bit different. I care for twin…s and do have downtime at their nap time. My employers don't mind if I am on my computer or reading a book but would have a problem with me napping. I do agree that if we want to be treated as professionals we need to behave as such, and napping at work is not professional.

  10. I used to fall asleep reading a little girl books before her nap with her. I never stayed the entire nap with her. The mom was a stay at home mother and she thought it was cute. Stay at home mothers sometimes understand more the need for a cat nap since it's exhausting!

  11. Does anyone ask what you do for your hour lunch break each day? Getting a power nap sounds much more productive than tv or chatting on the phone.

  12. I never thought of power naps as a problem until reading this mother's perspective. I see her point. But, I don't think a quick power nap is worth getting fired over especially if we are getting our jobs done and the children are not being neglected. Obviously if my boss asked me not to do it I wouldn't do it.

  13. If you can't do a job without napping.. Get a new job. For you Nannies whining that it is 60 hours a week, etc.. find a job you can handle. Yes it is Exhausting running after kids.. School teachers do it all the time.. Is it ok For a school teacher to nap during quiet time? If you can't handle the job, find one you can! The mom can nap, its not hypocritical.. they are HER.. I REPEAT HER children….. Nannies need to stop whining.. if you want to be treated like a professional then damn well act like one too!

  14. Teachers do NOT work 60 hour weeks. Not even close! And they do get periods off in which they do paperwork and/or they can certainly lie down if they chose. I feel the mother who wrote the article need to tell the nanny not to nap and if she doesn't follow her employer's instructions she needs to be replaced.

  15. My goodness the nanny is only human! The mother admits that she naps herself! Why hasn't the mother had a discussion with this nanny first before looking to replace her? The reason seems she just wants permission to get rid of her and using this as an excuse. No one falls asleep crossing the street or at the playground for goodness sake. Power naps, cat naps, whatever you call them are healthy and normal especially at this very physically and emotionally demanding job!

  16. I want to know is how did you know that she fell asleep? as a nanny im not a big fan of nanny cams if you dont trust the person you leave with your kids then you should find someone you do trust wow and come on any women for the most part i know me we would wake up to a kid crying and for the most part we are with the kids more then the moms so i think we are more in tune with the kids just saying

  17. Txnanny 143,In the article the mom works from home in a small apt. Read the article it's linked on this blog.

  18. I am really glad to see nannies who have a professional outlook on the job. I know of no other professional that is allowed to sleep on the job. nannies want to be treated as professionals and respected as professionals.. then we need to show that we are professionals. I know nannies that go out on the town the nght before and nap.. That is not professionalism.

  19. Teachers don't work 60 hours a week?? have you ever walked in teacher's shoes?? Most of them have to take work home and grade papers at all hours of the night.. Seriously you don't think teachers have demanding jobs?? OMG!!

  20. If your boss asks you to do something you do it. If she asks you not to do it you do it. Period.

  21. I meant to write if you boss tells you NOT to do something you DON'T do it. Oppsy

  22. I never said that teachers didn't have demanding jobs. I have nothing against teachers. Teachers and nanny jobs are very different. The environment is 100% different. I agree with Eva that if your boss tells you she doesn't want you to take a power nap, then don't. In the meantime, it's much easier for a nanny employer to fire a nanny for any reason they choose, it's harder to fire a teacher for sure.

  23. Parent here. I dont mind a nap if the children are asleep! Taking care of children is a tough job. But when they are awake absolutely not. I once caught a babysitter napping while my infant cried in her crib after waking from a nap. Not okay. She was a sitter, not a professional nanny we have now.

  24. Me too I think everything in moderation. Since our nanny is so great and works so hard I think down time is fair. Nannies can talk on cell phone, write emails, even watch tv in moderation and while child is sleeping. So a power nap occastionally is fine. If she's not doing her job that would be another story.

  25. Thanks for all the comments! After reading everyone's comments I think it all comes down to effective communication. The mother in the article is the employer and simply needs to make her expectations clear to her employee. She has to explain what is, and is not, acceptable to her employee. Then, the nanny has to follow her directions if she wants to keep the job. I don't think a nanny could argue if a parent asked them not to nap during normal working hours.

  26. Sharon:I don't nap on the job, don't think it's a good idea. I work 40hrs a week with 5 amazing kids, G6, twin B3.5, twin G1, it's full on and if I need down time I set up activities for chn then get a cup of tea or the like there isn't enough time to nap anyways, so those who do have time to nap are lucky and must not have a huge workload….I live out and as part of my job commitment I make sure I am well rested for the day ahead.Karen:I don't nap everyday, but if I feel one is needed I certainly will. I've never had a boss who felt like my 10 hour day should be constantly spent "working" because I'm being paid by the hour. As a nanny we do not get regular scheduled breaks or a lunch hour. Nap time is the only time we really have to ourselves all day. Of course, I always make sure that if for some reason the children wake up unexpectedly I will hear them through the monitor. I think this mom is looking for a reason to fire her nanny.

  27. Let me understand this because obviously hours worked after 10 pm I'd assume we'd be allowed to sleep no matter what?!

  28. you are right… you can also find jobs opening details online.

  29. Of course I nap, I'm human and nap with the kids OCCASIONALLY. Never when there's stuff to do.

  30. No way don't have the time to nap. Of course the mom can fire her for napping!

  31. Give the nanny a break. You're not superwoman and neither is she.

  32. I am completely shocked at some the response to this…I have never napped at work bc I personally think its unprofessional and I agree with the other post that you can't nap at any other job….but I see its a growing rend but I dont think I will be picking up the habit.

  33. I would say that it definitely depends on the job and expectations. I currently work with 2 1/2 year old twin boys who take a good 1 1/2 to 2 hour nap and call out to be gotten up after nap. I always get my "chores" done first (house tidied, floor swept, kitchen clean, prepped for activities/tomorrow, etc), but I absolutely do take the occasional nap! I always make sure that I am where I will hear them (couch or bed near their room), and I never sleep for more than 30 min. 10 hour days caring for young children are exhausting and we are human! We do not get lunch breaks and are always on, even while napping I have a sharp ear out for those kiddos. I am glad that "my" family has no problem with this, and even encourages it, as it allows me to recharge and have the energy I need to give their children the proper, enthusiastic care that they deserve and thrive on. They are top of their preschool class and really doing fantastically, much because of the hard work that I put in 50+ hours a week.Yes, teachers have hard jobs and work long hours, but they do have more control of their down-time and are not running around after toddlers all day! I have personal experience, having done a lot of field experience in getting my elementary and early ed. degree.

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