Roloff's Rules

The Roloff family are television stars with their TLC hit, Little People, Big World. At the heart of their universe is mother Amy. She told SheKnows the keys to triumphing over life's challenges, regardless of their size.

Matt and Amy Roloff, stars of Little People, Big WorldIf the TLC show Little People, Big World is foreign to you, Amy and her husband Matt are both little people and they have a pair of twin sixteen-year-old boys, one a little person (Zach) and the other, Jeremy, average teenage height. Also being raised by Matt and Amy is teen Molly and the youngest Roloff, Jacob.

Witnessing Little People, Big World is a terrific study in not only succeeding in life despite its curve balls, but also in lessons in how to raise a family in 2008.

Amy Roloff called SheKnows from her family farm in Oregon eager to share the secrets to television success and familial bliss.

Making it work

SheKnows: First of all, I have to ask, do you have any secrets to keeping your head on straight? You're somebody who has so many balls in the air. Is there a key to it?

Amy Roloff: From watching my show, people probably feel that I don't have organizational skills. I think it's a matter of juggling everything and keeping track on a calendar. It is making sure that I remind the kids of what's happening on each day. They also need to inform me on what's happening. In the morning, we get together – even in the rush. What's going on? Who needs to be where? What's happening later in the week? Communication to me is the biggest thing. I always check in with them on Sundays about what they have going on for the week. Everyone seems to know what everyone else is doing, so if things don't exactly work out – the kids chip in, especially Molly. Molly will remind the boys about everything!

SheKnows: The side benefit of good communication is they say the key to successfully raising your kids is knowing what's going on in their lives.

Amy Roloff: I think so too. Being a part of their life while still letting them think their life is their own, it's a whole mix of things. I have my own things to do. We can still continue to do what we want to do without cutting off. I enjoy my kids, I love hanging out with them. I think they like me being a part of that and interested in what's going on with them.

SheKnows: It's not hard to notice that. You guys are so close. I saw you all at the San Diego County Fair this past summer.

Amy Roloff: What a great fair.

SheKnows: Right by the ocean, it's a dream. Now, even though you are there for work - promoting the show – does it still feel like a family vacation when you all do something like that?

Amy Roloff: Sometimes, but the kids are up on stage and they need to stay in their certain spot because you are in the public eye. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. When it does – we would never have thought of going to the San Diego fair – we had an opportunity to see another fair. It was a very, very fun fair. Meeting so many people and having that opportunity – you look at it like 'didn't we get a lot more good out of it and offer a lot of good as opposed to the inconvenience of what we thought we went through?' In the long run, I think it's been a positive experience.

The family that plays together...stays together!

Television trepidations

SheKnows: When you were first approached with the idea for the show, are there were any apprehensions you had that indeed actually came true, or maybe, apprehensions you had that never materialized?

Amy Roloff: Wow, that's a good one. You'd have to go back to the first two seasons. The kids and I weren't really thrilled. In fact, we weren't interested in doing a TV show about our life. Matt saw beyond and really wanted the family to be a part of it. Not only to get the message out about little people, but just in general for people with disabilities. For us, it was an invasion of privacy. As a parent, I was more concerned about losing our space in the sense of my kids can just hang out. This farm is a place for them to just do what they want to do. When they leave the front door, that's where you better have your character on, you better have your etiquette, better be the best person you can be. But sometimes that's a lot of pressure. You need a place to unwind. That's where our home fits in. Now you bring these cameras in and it's like 'where do you go?' As time went on, we got used to it. Some of the fears of us changing drastically didn't come about. I was nervous as a parent when you go down the media road. People have this view of you, but it's really just a moment they're viewing.

SheKnows: Your children appear completely the same with years on TV and fame.

Amy Roloff: I wanted my kids to be the same after it all left. Overall, I think my kids have done really good. I think they are who they are. They still have their base friends. Overall, it's been good. And what an opportunity we've had just to meet so many people. We've been inspired by people and the stories that we get to hear. What an example to be learning from each other instead of putting all these barriers up. Inside, we want the same things.

The Roloff family from TLC's Little People, Big World

Big dreams

SheKnows: I think that would perpetuate your passion for Little People, Big World.

Amy Roloff: Yeah, to tell you the truth, it really does. I have a tendency to be a very private person. You grow up all your life being different. People tell you that you can't do things. Making fun of you, ridiculed, after a while, you start to have a hard show because you have to protect yourself. If you constantly let it get to you, God knows where you'd be. You have a tendency to put a wall up. When TV comes into your house, you know what? I can't worry about what people think. I surpassed that long ago. I can't stop. I have to keep moving. And after being exposed on TV, it's just me doing the best I can. It's also faith. We're here for a reason. We're here for a purpose. We're not perfect that's for sure. But we're out there doing the best we can.

The family visits paradise on vacationSheKnows: Not only as people confronted with obstacles, but the show is inspiring to watch you all simply as a family. Has your parenting style stayed the same or has it altered to address the spotlight?

Amy Roloff: You know I have really tried. I will tell you the truth. The producers and company, I wasn't their best friend in the beginning. This is my kids' life. They go to school. They need to be who they are and that is priority. TV is second. Even little people being little people parents, raising little person child and average size kids, we need to be able to have that flexibility to do what we would normally do.

Related television features

Emily Procter tells SheKnows how CSI: Miami keeps its heat
Daphne Zuniga becomes a Mail Order Bride for Hallmark
Simon Baker tells SheKnows about The Mentalist

Recommended for you


Comments on "Amy Roloff exclusive interview"

Kari Kilanger January 23, 2011 | 1:46 PM


Romelia Holmes October 31, 2010 | 8:08 PM

To Matt and Amy, my sister and I think are wonderful people and a delight to watch on T.V. We also think you are great parents and are doing a good job raising your children. We know being Parents is a hard job, so everybody with thier nasty coments about you and your Family can just " shut thier big trap" and stop thinking they are better than you. Love to meet you someday. Love Romelia and Rosa.

sis September 09, 2010 | 9:57 AM

I really love the show i watch it every morning at 6.00 on TLC. I am really going to miss it. They are a great family. Amy is a great mom she does so much with the kids and for the kids hate to see any thing happen to the family. They have a beautiful home but clean it up abit.

Michele B September 07, 2010 | 3:17 PM

Amy and Matt, since going back to school for interior design and construction management, you and your family have been a true inspiration when I work through issues in my classes. I intend on working in the hospital field but would like your insight into providing more for all abilities. Can you give me a list of what you would like to see the ADA assist more with when entering into a medical facility so that I can see it from your viewpoint when talking to a potential client? I'm also a retired nurse so I can look at it from a medical standpoint. Thanks for your assistance.

tammy September 07, 2010 | 2:12 PM

I love the show wait for it every week so i can watch it,am really gonna miss it ...

carole September 07, 2010 | 7:23 AM

Though I have watched the show since it began, I am not impressed with the absolute laziness of the boys, especially. Amy is NOT doing them any favor by her allowing them to keep such disgusting rooms and NOT helping more around the house. I would NOT consider myself a good parent had I not instilled a work ethic in my son, who, happily, has turned out to be a great, hard-working and terrific adult. The kids are also very disrespectful towards their parents. Not good.

alice July 25, 2010 | 7:00 AM

Hey, will little people go back on air,I miss the show, they are ok, we all have problem in are life, we should not judge other peoples life.We all have problem .no one perfect. just enjoy the show. All the T.V. show, you see on T.V. are very bad. So don't judge people .

SHARON - Perth, Western Australia July 10, 2010 | 11:48 PM

Hi to all the Rolloff family, I'm a Pomme expat living in Perth, Western Australia for the past 22 years. I luv your show, warts 'n' all. Who cares if your house is 'messy' - its great cos its a 'HOME' not a bloody showpiece. So what if the show has paid for both your renovations, you deserve to be paid, who else would put up with cameras 24/7. I luv all the kids, they are just your average teenagers doing what kids do best, mess-up & have fun. Thats real life. I like to think that I was just the same as you guys, housework ran last when it came to making sure the kids were safe, happy & having fun. They have good basic grounding and are a credit to the both of you. I just love the sound of laughter & bedlum that eminates from your home, it brings a smile to my face. Your both great parents, especially you Amy. Matt, well, he could interact with you guys a bit more and you may need to clip his wings when it comes to his extravagant dreams. Its hard when the kids grow up & start to leave the nest. It was hard for me also, but life takes on another path thats just as exciting. You both need to focus on each other now & plan fun journeys and explore the world. You'v done a great job bringing up those kids, but its your turn now. This is a new phase coming in and your roles change. I am now a grandmother and just luv my new role. Your older boys will soon be dating and planning thier lives with new partners, and so it goes. Lifes great, dont give up on each other. You were friends before and you will be again. Luv your show, luv your family (chaos and all) and I luv u guys. Stay strong, rise above any negative criticism, no-one has the perfect life. lotsa luv - Sharon xxxxx

Betty Sneed July 06, 2010 | 2:23 PM

I'm wondering about Matt's health since at the end of the last show he fell to the floor. I thought of diabetes, with which he was diagnosed, or maybe his heart! Would like to know how he is now. Also, I too wonder why after all the work to make such a great home that it is so messy. I'm sure with the money they make they could afford a housekeeper.

sharleen July 02, 2010 | 8:19 AM

Amy; I must admit I was glued to the tv set when the show came on because the disability the three of you have is remarkable to me.....but why is your house always messy? You have the camaras on yet every room in your big house is messy. That is awful; given your 4 kids are grown up but the boy's rooms are messy with clothes & junk everywhere & you cannot even see the counter with the you have everywhere. I am surprised the producers allow this since they are paying you for the taping & paid for the 2 renovations to your home. You had the nerve to expand the house then proceeded to fill up those extra rooms with more junk!!!! The Gosselin house is neat and clean even with all of those kids running around plus the family with the 20 plus kids. Their house is always neat & they do not have any household help but Kate does...still your house is a mess and is that the reason why the camaras do not go into your bedroom? Terrible. Then you have the nerve to invite the kids friend's over all the time & relatives to eat. You make enough money with the show paycheck plus your 3 jobs & Matt's 3 jobs. Come on. Ask you lazy daughter to help and give her an allowance for it instead of her running off with her friend's and brother's to pick pumpkins, etc....

Alice June 16, 2010 | 8:47 PM

I love this show and this family.I look forward to each season.I just wish that it had a longer season.

Matthew June 13, 2010 | 9:48 AM

Amy constantly undermines Matt's authority in the house. Instead of supporting him, she sides with the children. Matt can't tell one of his children to pick up after themselve without getting into a verbal death match with his wife. Unreal how Amy protects her kids from their own father. The camera must really be hiding something from us. Parents MUST be on the same page when raising children, there can't be a tug-of-war going on....something will have to give eventually!

connie June 09, 2010 | 12:23 AM

I have always been a fan of the show. There are different sides to everything, and I can see things from both Amy's and Matt's perspectives. Matt needs to be more sensitive to Amy's dreams and desires instead of just his own, he needs to be more mindful of saving money for the future instead of blowing it and making so many financial decisions without even consulting her like she is not even a partner in their marriage....and Amy needs to give him a little more credit for what he has done for the family, and appreciate him a little more, because you never know when he may be taken away, just like Mike. His body is deteriorating, and I am sure he must have fears and depression over that.....maybe that is why he does so many projects at the same time and has so many other things on his plate at all times....he thinks if he can keep busy enough, it will keep it from happening or at least hold it off awhile. It's like he has all these things in his head that he HAS to do, and he knows he has to rush to get them all done before he CAN'T do it anymore. Amy should be more supportive, compassionate, and loving.... not always cynical, suspicious and disgusted..... but Matt needs to meet her half way and do more of the things she wants to do, and care about what is important to HER, not just him. One word of advice: PUT ASIDE A GIANT NEST EGG FOR THE FUTURE, MATT, THAT YOU WILL NOT TOUCH, NO MATTER WHAT, BEFORE YOU DO ANY MORE PROJECTS, THEN MAYBE AMY WILL FEEL A LOT MORE SECURE, AND LESS WORRIED AND ANNOYED OVER YOUR FUTURE VENTURES. I also wish he would do more traveling with her, because she is hungry to cram in all the fun and experiences she can have WHILE she can them, and he just seems to want to sit at the farm and oversee "projects". I love the whole family, love watching the show, I think they are a great parents, and I admire them very much. I also think that people who complain about the messiness of the house have really got their priorities mixed up. They would rather spend quality time with their kids and allow their kids to have friends there and really enjoy their youth, without having to worry about getting a crumb on the sofa or a scuff-mark on the floor or every single thing being organized and in place. Who really cares about that?? If you have to stay on your kids' butts all the time to make sure they don't get a thing out of place, is it worth it? Is that the way you want them to remember you, or their childhood? Is a fanatically-straight home more important than being with your kids while they are young? The kids will be gone someday, then the house can be straight, there is plenty of time for that. But for now, Amy puts the kids feelings first. She is not running a Marine Boot Camp, a prison, or training a team of housekeepers to clean a hotel....she is a mom who lets her kids be kids while they can. I wish my mom had been more like her. Don't sweat the small stuff, like the saying goes. They are the most REAL family on TV, and I admire them for letting it all hang out. God bless them!

Mike S June 07, 2010 | 2:05 PM

Well I think its a fun show, all the kids are very real with pretty fun lives, I suspect they get to be pretty cool at school in having a show about their lives, but the first time someting embarrassing was revealed for the world to see, I am sure , the "coolness" wore off quick, Matt and Amy seem nice to and pretty sharp, with normal marriage issues we all have to a certain degree. oh well, take the good with the bad !!

Seattle-ite June 07, 2010 | 9:26 AM

This show is a lot less painful than watching the new kate+8 (ms i do everything by myself).. matt whines way too much which almost makes this show "yucky" but seeing all his building adventures without the Mrs knowing keeps me entertained... watching the kids is amusing.. hopefully the little people "bill and jen" show stays the course...

Chuck May 17, 2010 | 4:34 PM

Amy is a lil ! love to show her what a real man has!they are users! do they ever work or just live off the network?F............. those lil people!useing pieces of !

Denise May 12, 2010 | 4:03 AM

I do not think Amy is disugusting or a . I also do not hate Matt. But it is obvious their relationship is hurting and hopefully they can work on that. I do think that Matt has been selfish in some of his endeavors, but I also think a reason might be that he is worried about his health and that might be causing him to live large while he can. Look at how it is so much harder for him to get around, and I noticed lots of medications in the background on one of the episodes.

Gale May 05, 2010 | 3:26 PM

AMY ROLOFF IS SO DISGUSTING! She constantly argues and belittles her husband! Take it behind closed doors AMY! Not in front of the children nor the world! You have even gotten Zach to imitate you and to show little respect to his father! You are so arogant it is very apparent that you find tremendous joy in running him down. You and Spencer Pratt (with the Hills) have the WORST attitudes on TV! Could she possibly be related to him even though they look so different???

dan garrett May 04, 2010 | 8:26 AM

I used to be a big fan of this show. However, watching it this season is a chore. Who want to sit down and watch a 30 or 60 minute show with a couple saying disparaging thing about one another and complaining about the other. Even the kids are being affected by their behavior. Its time TLC gets a hint and realize that their audience of maybe only one ( me ) is thinking its time to change the channel. Who needs to watch this grief in another couples life. Get on with it and put the show out of its misery and mine.

sandy May 03, 2010 | 5:55 PM

My husband and I are watching the episode of the Dwarf games in Belfast, and Matt is nowhere to be seen. Takes off for "me time" with Jeremy and leaves the rest of the family to take care of all the stuff he started. He is getting worse by the season- an egomaniac who has no concerns for anyone but himself and no respect for his family. If it weren't for the show- I doubt he could have remodeled their house 3 times or gone on those awesome vacations- albeit he doesn't partake of being with his family....can you tell I am not a Matt Rolloff fan?

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)