23. Book Review -- Supernanny
Book Title: Supernanny: How to Get the Best from Your Children
Author: Jo Frost
Year of Publication: 2005
Author’s Web-site: http://www.jofrost.com
Full Book Available in: English
You should read this book if you…
Want easy strategies for dealing with everyday problems that you face with your child under age five.
“In a nut shell”…
This book covers a variety of topics that a parent of a child under age five will find useful.
Key Ideas and Action Steps…
Ages and Stages:
Birth to six months—Your baby needs lots of love and contact. She cannot be forced into a routine or be spoiled. So attend to your child every time they cry. You will soon be able to distinguish her cries (hunger, tired, dirty, etc.)
Six to Eighteen Months—Your baby is more active and begins to explore her world. Start child-proofing your home early on. Your baby will start to develop her character. You can discipline, but use a low, firm voice. She will respond to your tone even if she doesn’t understand your words.
Eighteen Months to Three Years – Your toddler is at a stage where she wants to explore and experience the world like a 5 year old, but lacks the self-control to make good decisions. This sets up a trying age commonly known as the “terrible two’s”. Your toddler will usually lack patience, not be able to plan ahead, cannot control herself and has no sense of danger. This is the age to start setting boundaries with your toddler and to be consistent with the boundaries.
Three to Five – At this age your preschooler will have more control over her actions and will begin to play with others. She will ask lots of “why” questions at this age and will usually have a vivid imagination.
Routines and Rules: Establishing a daily routine will make sure that your child’s physical needs are met at the right time which will cut down on tantrums related to being hungry or tired. It is also a way to reduce defiance when the next activity needs to begin (e.g., bath time, bedtime) because your child will already expect what is coming next because of the daily routine. Rules are necessary for children, but you need to be consistent no matter who is watching your child and establish rules that your child can realistically follow at her particular age.
Setting Boundaries: Discipline is the fine line between setting rules with your children yet still being warm and loving. Respect needs to happen on both sides. However, if you discipline your kids too much you might break their spirit. Not enough and you are setting them up for failure when they get outside of home (e.g. school, making friends). When disciplining your child, keep in mind that children pick up on your tone of voice and body language. Make sure you get down on their level and talk in a low, firm voice. In addition, make sure you praise your child when they do things right. This way they don’t have to act out just to get your attention. Be consistent and act immediately when disciplining, but never discipline when your child is ill, there is doubt as to who did what to whom, when your child’s behavior has shocked her and she is really sorry, there is a big change in family life (move, new baby, etc.), or when she has already been disciplined.
Dressing: When dressing challenges arise make sure you follow these steps to solve them: Offer your child a few choices on what to wear and be clear on what type of clothing they need to wear. Involve her and teach and encourage her to dress herself. Use firm and fair control if you experience repeated struggles.
Toilet Training: The optimal age for toilet training is between 2 ½ and 3 years. At this age your child is old enough to have control over her bladder and bowels and can realize when she is about to go. If you train too early you may be training for months whereas if you wait until your child is ready, the training process will only take a few weeks. When it is time to toilet train, learn to identify the signs when your child needs to go, keep clothing simple, praise him when he pees or poos, ask him if he needs to go constantly throughout the day, keep the potty close at hand, and be consistent, calm and confident. Also, do not use pull-ups during this stage. It confuses the child. Use either diapers or pants.
Eating: For the first four months of life your baby should only be given breast milk or formula. If your baby is still hungry after a feeding, he needs more milk, not solid food. Cow’s milk should never be given before 1 year. It contains too much protein for babies. Begin introducing solid food after 4 months if your child is still hungry after milk or he is experiencing a lull in weight gain. He may not like the taste or texture at first, but keep on trying little by little and wait a week or two if necessary. Introduce one food at a time to see if a certain food is disliked or causes an allergic reaction. After the age of one and a half a toddler should be able to eat anything the family eats, provided it is cut up in small enough bites. Introduce a variety of foods early on. Keep portions small and stick with three main meals a day with 2 daytime healthy snacks.
Social Skills: It is very important for a child to learn how to get along with other people. While a toddler may see other people as standing in the way of what they want to do, preschoolers will soon realize that sharing and taking turns are good skills to have. You can help your child by making clear what the limits are when it comes to playtime. By joining in and having fun with your child at every stage you will teach them necessary social skills. Playing is not only how children have fun, but it is how they learn. Even by simply having your child “help” you do chores you will be teaching them valuable social skills. A child cannot distinguish “work” from “play”. When it comes to sharing and taking turns, practice at home with simple lessons. And if children are playing well together, don’t hover. They will sort out their own problems and develop their own friendships without you constantly being there.
Bedtime: Establishing a nightly bedtime routine is key to helping ease the transition from daytime to bedtime. First, set a time for going to bed. For preschoolers, a bedtime between 7:00 and 8:00 works best. With a set bedtime it gives older children one on one time with you or allows you and your partner some much needed relaxation. When setting your bedtime routine, it is important to allow just the amount of time for each step. You don’t want to linger on steps (bath, brushing teeth, etc.) so that your child thinks there is room to maneuver, but then again you don’t want to rush through the steps.
Quality Time: Bring up your child is hard work and it is not realistic for every moment spent to be “quality time”. But the rewards come in the fact that you can enjoy this precious period in his life because it will be gone all too quickly. Take every chance to turn chores into fun. Quality time should also allow for each family member to have individual attention and time off.
How this has changed my parenting…
The stand-out point that this book has taught me is the importance of a daily routine. I tend to be a pretty lax parent, but I’ve discovered that since we have started a routine (even though it isn’t super strict) my kids are more easygoing, generally happier, and less cranky at bedtime and throughout the day.
© 2011 The Family Project