Supernanny Jo Frost's Top Three Tips for Parents
As her show kicks off its sixth season, television's favorite nanny shares her favorite tips for raising happy, healthy children.
Second, lead by
example. Don't be hypocritical. We should be positive role models in our
children's lives. Our children look up to us and are inspired by the qualities
we have. They're a mirror reflection. They make us laugh at ourselves when they
mimic us, and at the same time they make us check ourselves. As parents we're
learning along the way as well, but respect is twofold. Show respect and it's
Finally, time is
irreplaceable. You can't have growth without time. You can't show your love
unless you make the time to show it, and you can't build memories unless you
have plenty of it.
What are some of the
biggest mistakes American parents make with their kids?
Not having realistic
expectations is one! For example, a very common situation is when parents have
a second child and there may be a very small gap between the two. The first
child has been the apple of their eye and then the second one comes along --
and overnight they expect the older child to put their shoes and clothes on
themselves, eat with a knife and fork, and put a backpack on and go off to
school. You have to understand what your child is capable of.
I also find that
parents are not consistent in their word, whether it's in discipline or
following up on something that you promise. I know it's important for children
to understand that things happen out of the blue that we didn't expect, but
parents are not consistent to their word and it's a real letdown. Like when
Mommy promises, "Just let me tidy this up and I'll come and play with you," and
it doesn't happen.
What first led you
to become a nanny?
It wasn't a conscious
decision. I loved being around young children; as a teenager I used to babysit
to earn money for the things I wanted -- which would be clothes. But I started
to nanny more and got into temping and full time. Then I started
troubleshooting. I'd been on the nanny circuit for so long and people would
just hear of me, I'd go into parents' houses and stay for a week and resolve
some issues. The show has sculpted this idea of me as a strong disciplinarian,
and for the purpose of sensationalism we see families with behavioral issues.
But I was the nanny who'd look after newborn babies, come home from day one and
change the sheets, what we call maternity nursing. I would answer questions on
anything to do with parenting at different stages, from "I'm breastfeeding and
want to transition to the bottle," to "Three of us are going on vacation, how
do we deal with night flights and time zones?" I love my job!