Remember real life British nanny Jo Frost? She was The Supernanny who, from 2004 to 2011, went into the homes of fed-up parents around the U.S. and transformed their lives with her tried and true ways to discipline.
A modern day Mary Poppins, she would, with permission, record (who would agree to that?) a typical day of tantrums, defiance and basic bratty-ness. Then train the parents on her no-nonsense brand of control and governance.
She was ah-mazing.
And, she’s returning with a brand new show soon airing on Lifetime.
One topic she’s sure to tackle often on her new show is how to get children to bed and stay there. It was definitely a tiresome issue for families from her first series. Frost told Scary Mommy,
Be consistent and create a bedtime routine.
Children need to feel safe. They want the predictable behavior from their parents because that predictable behavior and that ritual lays down a foundation of safety and security. And children are at their most vulnerable when they’re sleeping.
So if it’s predictable, and if we create a bedtime routine that allows children to know what’s coming, they fall into that pattern quite easily and look forward to having parents’ home presence without the interruption of technology, or work, or anything else, quite frankly.
So, how do you make bedtime predictable, especially when evenings can get chaotic with dinner and chores?
Frost suggests looking at the “framework” of your evening and finding ways you can plan ahead with meals and other duties so you can be predictable and pleasant enough to spend time with the kids before bed.
That’s what your children are asking for when they resist bedtime. They’re wanting your time in a way that’s soothing and consistent. She says this type of routine is relaxing for everyone.
If it’s screen time that has you frazzled, Frost still falls back on spending time with your children. Play with your kids, she says. Or, get them helping you with dinner or another activity that has you communicating and working together. It doesn’t have to get complex or boring for you. It’s the time that counts.
As far as gadgets are concerned, Frost has one recommendation—a baby monitor without a video camera.
So I love the baby gadget for the reason it is designed, to be able to meet the needs of our baby when they’re crying. But I want parents to be in tune and to develop that confidence with practice of being able to be in tune with their baby’s cry.
And I think with practice, you actually intuitively start to feel that and know it. But when the video screen’s on, it disables you because you go straight to looking at the child to see whether they’re okay rather than hearing.
And that, to me, I believe can be the beginning of us really developing more intuition and the intuitive sense around our children and knowing.
If you’re new at this whole parenting thing, make some time to watch the all new Supernanny. Her tips and tricks are game changers. And, if you’re brave enough, maybe you can even have her come into your home with her video cameras and note-taking.
Warning, though. There’s no spoonful of sugar with her medicine.