Hello, Darling had the opportunity for a phone chat with Jo Frost, or, as you may know her better, the Supernanny. As we chatted on the phone about her new book, Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules, she was absolutely delightful (as was her accent). Read on to find out more about the book, Jo’s favorite beauty products and how to contact her with your own child rearing conundrums. Plus, enter to win a copy of the book which releases tomorrow.
HD: What is your favorite beauty product? The thing you do to take care of yourself you just can’t live without.
Jo: I travel a lot. I’m on airplanes an extreme amount of time, so I would say the two things I carry in my bag all the time, I carry a L’Oreal Facial Hyper-Sensitivity Wipes because I always want to get my make-up off my face. I’m not a huge lover of wearing make-up, but when I’m filming I have to wear it for so long, I kind of want to get it off as quick as possible. And I carry a little bottle of Evian Facial Spray, the miniature travel ones because I always want to spray my face to stay hydrated. I’m always trying to work, the obvious is always drinking water and staying hydrated, but for me spraying with make my face feel like I’ve got some mist after I’ve used the wipes to take my make-up off. So I’m always making sure I’ve got wipes in my bag and the spray to put on my face because the main thing for me is staying hydrated because I’m just on planes so much.
HD: What are 3 words your friends use to describe you?
Jo: Spiritual, effervescent, loving
HD: Ok, now that we know each other better, can you give us in your words the basic premise of the book; the sections, premise, and how it all works?
Jo: The most important part to me is how it’s about listening to parents – listening to why they were struggling and needing the practical guidance and advice. What I found was that a lot of parents were approaching me without understanding how they could shape better behavior in the desired areas; whether it be sleeping, or eating, just how to understand what happens and really what they could do to help their children. So this book takes everything I have heard from parents about what they need to facilitate after the first year, the talking years. So what I wanted to address is what you’ll see in the contents.
HD: Ok, so where does the book start?
Jo: It starts with the importance of being a parent vs. hearing a parent say, “I’m a disciplinarian” because there seems to be this stigma in American with just saying the word “discipline.” If you say “I’m a disciplined parent” then people look at you as a parent who’s unreasonable, harsh, and unrealistic.
But many parents who’ve done their job to the best of their ability in making sure that their children are given really good sleeping habits so that they are function and rested and able to learn to grow. Any parent who shows their best endeavors to introduce a variety of nutritious food plans to their children, any parent who takes the time to understand the importance of early learning, education, to stimulate their brain development, their fine and large motor skills, their coordination, their self-control. Any parent who comes together with other children so that they can create more confidence in their social skills, is a parent who is conscientious about the discipline it takes from themselves in order to consider the future for their children. It was the very point of this book to in being able to understand those five points in shaping behavior so that they would no longer struggle in those areas but actually enjoy and teach, and be really wonderful examples and role models for their children. Because centrally, that’s where their children have in being able to look up and to learn from, and be able to life as examples and give them a real head start in getting it right.
HD: When it comes to discipline and toddlers, I think one of the first things that comes to mind is tantrums.
Jo: Parents continuously talk to me about temper tantrums and wanting to learn how to control them. I believe that a temper tantrum is an opportunity to learn and identify the tantrum. I explain very clearly in the book how to identify the three types of tantrums that your child will have at this age and why they happen so that we can learn how to respond rather than react. To take this opportunity to learn how we connect with our children better so that we eliminate those temper tantrums and no longer see them anymore. Because we would have helped learn and develop on the levels that were needed to eliminate those temper tantrums.
HD: We imagine people are stopping you on constantly to ask you for advice.
Jo: Which brings me to my last point, my SOS message. So many people you know, on the streets, at a shopping mall, where I am actually on the road, and my last ten years on television and in multitudes of countries would say that famous little question “How do you do it?” Of course it’s experience when you’ve spent 25 years in the field practically helping families in every kind of avenue and possibility you can think of. What also is important is that parents learn what I call the SOS. I’m actually really conscious of this myself because I’m very intuitive when I work, and I have to think about exactly the message that I use when I go in. I do use an SOS message: I step back mentally in my mind that I can then observe what is exactly happening, what is the picture in front of me that is happening? And step back in with resolution. I wanted to be able to clearly take every family through that. In order to understand how you can get to resolve, you have to be disciplined in understanding the SOS message to get there.
So it’s incredibly important to be able to step back. When you don’t you get emotionally wrapped up in the tornado that’s happening, to be able to observe it to learn so much. My experience has been a vast of knowledge based on observation, in being able to watch how families interact with one another under certain strains and circumstances, how young ones interact with each another as well as the different members of the family and the unit, and to be able to understand how they respond and react to certain circumstances. What we can observe, we can take in so much. Then we’re able to step back in with a resolution. Whether that be listening to both siblings when they’re coming at you with “Well Johnny said this!” “And Bobby said this!,” step back in with a plan. What is your game plan? What are you going to do now rather than making a decision to ignore as if it never happened?
We have to be proactive as parents and step in to do what we can to actually resolve, or what we can do to at least make fairness in feeling like people are hearing us and here are some of the solutions. It’s about being proactive. So many times I would go in and help families and they do nothing. Without making a decision, and the fear decision they make might be wrong. So unless you make a decision, you won’t know it’s wrong. Some parents making those decisions is water off a ducks back and for some parents it’s not, it’s doesn’t come that easy. I wanted to give every family the opportunity to be able to do so.
This is how this book came about really. It was being able to listen to parents always and facilitate what they needed. What do parents need right now? And parents needed this because they were asking just whether it was on the tweets on my Twitter account, whether it was on my website, whether I was on the streets being asked questions. This is what I was getting a multitude of questions about and you know, I had to write a book to help families in that capacity. When you turn on the television and you see airlines having to turn around airplanes because children are having meltdowns and the rest of the world are unrealistic about what’s appropriate and what’s not, it’s time to be able to give that guidance so that parents know and have more confidence in being able to stay connected to their young children and give them what they need, and know that they’re doing it fairly, with love and feel really good about that too, ya know? To feel proud as parents of what they’re doing.
HD: We have so many moms who are in the trenches with toddlers, if there was one piece of encouragement you would leave them with, what would you say?
Jo: Humor. You know, in a nutshell, the toddler year can be really frustrating. They can test everything you will actually need. They will test the patience that you will grow, the perseverance that will get you through. I love the toddler years, they are just really exciting. You know, it’s an adventure for the child, it’s an adventure for you. There are times when you’re tired. There are times when you feel exhausted, and your feed up repeating yourself and the repetition, but just, when it comes together for the children and you see that, it is so rewarding. It’s absolutely so rewarding. I always say that when you get through the first year, you give yourself a pat on the back because your baby is still alive and so are you, because it is such a life alteration with a newborn coming into your family life and adjusting. And then the toddler years are all so new and adventurous and they take something very different from you. You to be very repetitive, you have to learn that patience, to persevere. You have to certainly learn to connect and teach and everything, but in those times learn to have fun. In those times find the humor. Find then humor when you want a glass of wine at 3 in the afternoon. Find the humor when you turn and say, we’ve had a fantastic day, but boy and I pleased they’re in bed and 8 o’clock at night. Find the humor, because those toddler years, they do go quick. Those 5 years go really quick, and they are precious. They are precious, they really are.
Have you see a copy of the book?
HD: We have a copy, yes.
Jo: The little girl on the front is my niece, my brother’s child. So you can see, she’s just adorable. They’re great years. So… those years go fast. Humor. Enjoy those first five years and connecting to your children and just feeling that love. And enjoying it. Have a sense of humor, for as crazy as a day may be, that you can just go, “my word, it was a tough day today.” No one day is ever the same, so carry that sense of humor with you because you’re going to have to find humor in moments that are difficult and sticky. It’s not about how to cope, my book is about how you’re going to have more fun, and enjoy, and become a more disciplined parent so that you can give your kids the best of what they need from you, and feel joy and feel proud about what you’re doing as a parent and really own that.
HD: Thanks so much for chatting with us on the phone. I know our readers are going to so appreciate your perspective.
Jo: Let your moms know that I do answer questions on my Twitter account which is @Jo_Frost and I have a website which is JoFrost.com, we have a monthly newsletter and there’s always updated information. Even if the questions aren’t challenging questions, it’s just something someone thought of, I want to be a go-to where people can ask questions, so pass that information along.
In her book, Jo Frost puts together an amazingly simple equation for a harmonious household—her five rules for disciplined parenting plus her three-step S.O.S. method (Step Back, Observe, Step In)—and shows how these tools can create calmness in daily family life and routines. Frost’s approach is universal regardless of the specific behavioral issue at hand, and she shows how easily it can be applied to the most challenging situations such as:
• Sleep: getting enough, staying in bed and establishing the bedtime routine
• Food: eating healthy, finishing dinner, trying new things
• Play: sharing toys, defusing squabbles, making friends
• Learning: life skills, listening, understanding
• Behavior: manners, expectations, respect, praise and affection
Complete with troubleshooting tips for living tantrum-free, Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules is a welcome, no-nonsense guide with everything you need to help your children grow, thrive, and make family time even more precious.
With more than twenty-five years of experience in the family arena, Jo Frost, a former nanny and the world’s leading parental expert, became a global household name with her hit shows Supernanny, Extreme Parental Guidance, and TLC’s Family S.O.S. with Jo Frost. New York Times bestseller Frost is the author of seven insightful parenting guides, and is a huge proponent for early education advocacy. She lives in Los Angeles, and travels worldwide speaking to a variety of audiences, in addition to contributing to global family and parenting magazines. You can visit her online at JoFrost.com or follow her on Twitter @Jo_Frost.