Global parenting expert and child advocate Jo Frost, previously known as the Super Nanny, wants to come to Australia to help us with our toddlers.
With a new show, Nanny on Tour, starting in Holland, Jo intends to travel the globe and has Queensland firmly in her sights. With more than 25 years of teaching parents how to navigate tricky milestones, she is more than welcome here — and can she start with my tricky ‘three-nager’, Millie!
I caught up with her for some practical and much needed advice.
You have a brand new book called Toddler Rules. I have a toddler who certainly rules my house. Can you help me?
Of course! Really, the inspiration of this book came from watching airplanes turning around from children having temper tantrums, continuous emails and people stopping me in the street saying to me, ‘I feel like I don’t know what to do when my child has a tantrum’. The book helps you identify the three types of tantrums all kids have. If you can do that, you can eliminate the tantrums and you can learn how to respond rather than react to them. We need to learn how to communicate better with them.
How do we do that?
We need more discipline and to get over the stigma of that word. We as parents are the ones that need more discipline. If we are more disciplined as human beings, we are able to give our children what they need so they can function well and we can be proud that we can follow through and they can meet their best potential.
The book talks about the five steps. What are they?
The five steps are Sleep, Food, Play, Early Learning and Manners. They are really what helps us to be able to shape better behavior from our children as parents, and they are all interconnected. If we are disciplined in realising that children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep and rest, and if we are disciplined in their food practices and recognising what they need and what is best served to them, everything else starts to fall in place and we will have a more rounded family life.
Jo, what do you think of phrases like ‘terrible twos’ and ‘three-nager’?
I take them with a pinch of salt. The terrible twos are no longer the terrible twos, children are showing more combative behavior a lot younger now, three years olds are being given too much control. Those phrases are being used in a destructive way rather than channeling it in a more positive, instructive way. Now it is about labeling these kids, and it’s a fickle saying. If you understand your kids better, these phrases are not necessary. We need to bridge the gap to understand our kids better.
Is the number one way to help our kids to spend more time with them?
I don’t think there is a number one. The parenting journey is about knowledge and understanding and education. The more we can work alongside our own paternal and maternal instincts and then make educated decisions, that will ultimately lead us to feel confident in the parenting arena.