‘Supernanny’ Jo Frost’s tips for ending toddler tantrums for good
When a toddler starts having a meltdown — complete with monster tears and ear-piercing screams — most parents will do anything to make it stop. After 25 years of tending to other people’s bratty kids, “Supernanny” Jo Frost has tackled countless torturous tantrums. Now, she’s sharing her wisdom in her new book, “Toddler Rules: Your 5-Step Guide To Shaping Proper Behavior.”
“It’s not about needing to control your child. It’s about really understanding what your child is going through and knowing how to respond so you can eliminate them,” she tells us.
Frost’s book focuses on the different types of temper tantrums and how to respond appropriately to each type, teaching parents how to both stop them in the moment and to eliminate them completely.
“Unruly behavior can come from not implementing discipline. There’s a gamut of things that can cause tantrums: Children can be tired, hungry or not wanting to leave the park. You have to identify which type of tantrum it is so you can put in place what the child needs,” she advises. “If your child is having a meltdown at the mall because he or she wants a toy and you give in just to make it stop, he or she learns very quickly how to get his or her way. That’s what you’re teaching your child.”
Parents who have experienced tantrums during mealtime because their child would rather eat Goldfish crackers than the prepared meal, listen up: “We’ve become very reliant on dry food. We have to make sure we’re bringing our children to the table at consistent meal times,” she advises. “We have to resist giving them [junk between meal times] because they know if they make enough of a fuss they’ll get crackers before mealtime. And then an hour later, they don’t want anything to eat.”
Perhaps most importantly is Frost’s S.O.S. Method: taking a step back before reacting.”If you’re in the eye of the tornado, you can’t see what’s happening left or right, but if you step back you can see the whole picture,” Frost says. “Then you can respond appropriately.”
Of course not everyone can have a Frost come to their rescue, but she does have a few tips when it comes to finding your own supernanny: “First, define what type of help you’re looking for. Then, work with reputable agencies or someone who has been recommended. It’s so important to check references and ask questions when you are interviewing. When you feel you’ve found the perfect nanny, do a week shadow, having him or her shadow you before you leave your child completely in his or her care. Even if it’s before you hire, you have a right to do that.”
Meet Jo Frost
March 5, 5:30 p.m.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
1011 Third Ave., 818-825-5798
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence