I acknowledge that not everyone is a fan of the “Supernanny” Jo Frost. I think the television programmes probably focussed a bit too much on the ‘Time Outs’, and some may think she was over-jealous with the routines. I suspect the suits and glasses didn’t help, and the black taxi cab in the American versions of the show was laughable. However, cut through the T.V. crap (because you know production companies make what sells) because I think she carefully considers the basic needs of all children and helps you to address these. When you address these, life becomes simpler and frees up time for more fun (and most importantly no more whinging).

I don’t follow Jo’s suggested routines to the letter, there are compromises to be made, external influences. For instance the school run, a later than ordinary bedtime to accommodate Daddy getting home from work, timing of activities etc. That said with the information Jo provides, I have been able to come up with a routine which works. So yes, the children go to bed late so they can have time with their Daddy, and yes they get up early so we can get to school on time, but to compensate for that they still have naps (when others might not), and meals are timed to make sure they are kept energised and hydrated.

Our days are busy, with squeezing in the dog walking, pre-school and chores, but the children contribute to the household in their own way, they have responsibilities and they thrive on this. They do well at problem solving, and their confidence grows daily, because of the rules and routines they have stability and from that they never doubt where we are or when their next meal is. As everything is planned, each child has one-to-one time with each of us, as well as independent play time with each other and on their own. They are happy and contented.

Sometimes things can’t go according to plan, and Jo helps you get back on track. This book is definitely for those who favour routines. But if you feel like life at home is chaotic, this book might help you find a new way forwards. I favour pick and mix parenting, I use different parenting books for each age and stage of children’s development. This book suits both my 1 year old and 3 year old. And despite this book favouring routine, I can and do still do baby-lead pottying and baby-lead weaning. It doesn’t have to be this way or that, sometimes a mix is what we need.

There are currently 35 copies of this book available for loan in the Surrey County Council Library’s network. Plus numerous other copies of Jo’s other books.

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