Posts Tagged ‘ temper tantrums ’

Fighting Toddler Temper Tantrums With Supernanny Jo Frost

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Can’t handle one more toddler temper tantrum? “Supernanny” Jo Frost can handle them all, and in her new book Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules: Your 5-Step Guide to Shaping Proper Behavior, she shares her child caring superpowers with you. Parents caught up with the (wo)man of steel for an expert take on toddler discipline. 

Parents: At what point did you realize that you had a knack for connecting with children and that you could help other families?

Jo Frost: I got into this industry because I’m passionate about looking after children and helping families. As a professional nanny, dealing with different dynamics and circumstances and problemswhether they be eating or sleeping, or life experiences like families moving from different countries or divorced parentscertainly gave me a vast amount of real, practical experience in the field. It wasn’t a light box switching on and me saying, “I’m good at this.” It was very instinctual for me to do the job that I was doing every day and enjoying. And, of course, I had the opportunity in 2004 when “Supernanny” came about to take my knowledge and experience to a much wider platform.

P: What will your audience get from reading your books that they can’t get from watching your show?

JF: I can talk the hind legs off a donkey. Being able to write books is a wonderful way for me to put not just the techniques that we use, but also to help parents understand why situations happen, to understand how your toddler ticks, to really understand the practicalities of living your life to the best of your ability. And to be able to do so, you have to know what parents want. People share their issues and challenges with me, and I’ve found that many a parent are in disarray when it comes to temper tantrums and knowing how to handle and understand them. How can they do best by their children? How can they give them a helping start? There’s a general feeling of parents really wanting to do the best that they can and needing a frank, honest, practical solution in being able to do so.

P: What do you think about the state of discipline in America today?

JF: You turn on the television and see airlines that are turning around the airplane because children are having temper tantrums. You’re seeing restaurants kicking out families because their child is having a melt down because they don’t want to eat their dinner. This isn’t okay. We need to be realistic in understanding what is appropriate behavior and how disciplined we need to be as parents. In America, we need to take away that stigma associated with being a disciplinarian. When you mention the word “discipline” in America, people think that you are harsh and unreasonable. Let’s break that word so that we understand the importance of what’s necessary to give our kids the best.

P: What was your goal in writing Toddler Rules?

JF: I wanted to very clearly, through my 25 years of observation in watching children interact with other children, whether in a classroom or at playgroup, identify: What are the types of temper tantrums that children have? How can we identify them? And how can we respond? The immediate response when a child has a temper tantrum is how to control it, rather than how to understand that every time your child has a temper tantrum, it’s an opportunity to learn exactly what’s going on in the child’s life at that particular moment and connect and respond to the situation at hand.

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P: The book emphasizes your S.O.S. methodStep back, Observe, Step inwhich is applied to sleep, food, and play. Can you give us an overview of how this method works? 

JF: S.O.S. is what I use all the time, and I think that if parents could stand to adopt the S.O.S., we can healthily identify what is going on so that we can step in with a resolution. The resolution may be listening to both sides and making a decision, recognizing that we have to jump in and do something that protects our children, or empowering them so that they feel they’ve got some choice. We can’t do that if we continue to be sidetracked by emotion and not proactive in helping. You have to do; you can’t just ignore. You have to be active in actually making decisions and knowing what’s going on. You have to be able to make things better.

P: What would you say to parents who claim to have tried everything, yet still can’t get their kids to behave?

JF: Stop trying, and do. “Try” has become this great word in the land of nowhere. You’re either going to do it, or you’re not.

P: Any final words of wisdom?

JF: I love helping families and answering questions that come up. Sometimes they’re questions about challenges, and sometimes they might be practical questions that they’re just not too sure about. I would love for people to reach out to me on Twitter @Jo_Frost and on my website at It’s more resources for them that may be very helpful.

Looking for a supernanny of your own? Use this nanny candidate interview guide.

Photo Courtesy: David Carlson 

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Techniques to Keep Kids’ Tempers Cool in the Heat

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

angry childEditor’s Note: This guest post was written by Dr. Steve Pastyrnak, Division Chief, Pediatric Psychology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI.  He shares techniques for different age groups on how to keep a child’s temper in check during rising summer temperatures.

Toddler and Preschoolers

When the heat is high, frustration and anger tend to boil over for kids of any age.  For toddlers and preschoolers, who are learning how to express themselves, tantrums and angry outbursts are very normal.  Since parents will have a hard time reasoning with little ones, modeling and distraction techniques can help deal with grumpy behavior.  But a little patience and a good sense of humor is always a parent’s best bet.

A modeling technique involves parents remaining calm and cool, no matter how frustrating the kids are in the moment.  Tots will take cues from those around them and will calm down more quickly when being spoken to in a quiet and reassuring tone of voice.  Distraction involves using an activity or toy to redirect the child’s attention and disconnect frustration from crying, yelling, and screaming.  But it’s important to distract before the frustration gets out of control or when kids start calming down.  Otherwise, toddlers may connect anger and tantrums with getting a toy. Parents should keep a handy tool box of really cool (and inexpensive) items such as playdough, bubbles, crayons, etc.

If your kids are in a full-blown tantrum, however, the only solution is to remove them from the situation.  Move them to another place or keep them on your lap.   Let anger run its course.

Big Kids

Help kids handle physical stress and negative thoughts by teaching simple breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.  Breathe slowly in through the nose (like smelling a flower) and the slowly out through the mouth (like blowing out a candle).  The slower the better.  Then have kids squeeze specific muscle groups (arms, stomachs, or even their faces) and hold the tension for a few seconds before relaxing.  This technique will release some physical energy while also teaching the bodies how to relax.

Parents can also consider saying positive reinforcements (“Good job,” “You are so strong, brave, awesome, etc.”) for any situation that the child handles on her own.  While verbal praises address behaviors well, teach kids another way to banish negative thoughts by using, what I call, the “Jedi” mind trick.  Have kids recite simple positive thoughts to themselves, such as “I can do this,” “I’m okay,” and “No big deal.”  The more kids practice saying these positive phrases, the more likely that they will change negative thoughts into positive ones.

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Curtail Your Toddler’s Tantrums

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

It’s dinnertime: The phone is ringing, your testy toddler is throwing her peas on the floor, your eldest is refusing to eat, and the dog is barking at nothing (again). And you? You lose your cool and have, regrettably, a mini mommy-tantrum.

If you’ve ever had a toddler, this scenario probably sounds familiar. Even the most patient of parents can find themselves at wit’s end when dealing with a tricky two-year old. However, frequent outbursts of agitation may be negatively impacting your child’s social development—and prolonging those temper tantrums. A study from Oregon State University and various contributing institutions found that parents who over-react and anger easily have toddlers who experience more meltdowns than normal for their age. The way you handle everyday annoyances in your child’s first few years of life is directly linked to your toddler’s behavioral development, researchers say.

Of course, you’re only human, and sometimes stress just gets the best of you. But instead of taking your anger out on the dog, take a time out and try our sanity-saving mommy midterm. By the time you’re done with this de-stress test, you’ll have forgotten all about the picture your toddler just drew on the wall.

…Well, maybe.


Image: crying little kid photo via Shutterstock

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