Whether you know Jo Frost as the Supernanny, the inventor of the naughty step or the modern day Mary Poppins, you have undoubtedly heard of this London-born sensation. SheKnows spoke with Frost, the star of ABC’s hit reality show Supernanny, to get her take on some of our toughest parenting issues.
Supernanny places Jo Frost in American households where she teaches parents hands-on techniques in a loving and respectful, yet firm manner. Her real-world approaches to parenting issues ranging from sleep problems, sibling rivalry to potty training have turned out-of-control households into a loving and happy family.
What does Jo think is the biggest parenting mistake most parents make? “There isn’t one biggest, biggest mistake,” she says, but she often finds that parents aren’t communicating with each other on discipline techniques or methods . “Parents need to be on the same page,” she says.
The naughty step
You have probably heard of the “naughty step,” but what exactly is it? Jo explains that the naughty step is different from simply putting children in a time out. “You have a discussion afterwards,” she explains.
So, how does it work? When your child acts out, you explain their behavior is unacceptable and tell them if it happens again they will go to the naughty step. The naughty step can be a stair step, chair, sofa or somewhere where they can sit and quietly think. If they do act out again, you place them on the naughty step, explain to them why they are there and how long they will be there. Jo recommends one minute per year of age. After they have finished their certain period of time, it is important you get down to their level, explain why they are there and ask for an apology. Give them a kiss and hug and carry about your day.
When is a good time to start this? “Age 2 is a good time to start the naughty step, however 17 months is too young. They need to be old enough to know why their behavior was unacceptable,” she says.
How old is too old for the naughty step? “It depends on their maturity,” she says. “Once they get older, they need to go to their own personal space to think about their behavior.”
Top sleep issues
It is a scenario many of us moms are way too familiar with — a child who won’t go to bed at night or wants to sleep in your bed. How do you get them to stay in their own bed? “Parents need to establish a bedtime routine,” Jo says. “Have them play in their rooms and feel comfortable in their own rooms.”
Be consistent with your child and place them back in their own bed if they get up shortly after bedtime or in the middle of the night. Don’t give in or it will become an even harder habit to break. For a toddler/preschooler, Jo recommends weaning your child off of a pacifier by 18 months and use other techniques to help them sleep. Her Supernanny.com site gives great tips on helping your child feel comfortable in their own room including:
- Use nightlights to ease their fear of the dark
- If your child is transitioning to bed from crib, use a bed guard or move her back to crib for a short period of time
- Make some “Monster spray” (plastic spray bottle with perfume or water) to spray away the monsters
- Have a goldfish or other friendly looking fish in the room (Look, it’s Nemo!)
Get more tips here on helping to establish a soothing nighttime routine with your child.
You can also read a portion of this article on RealityTV Magazine.com.