Hello Supernanny!

Sorry as I am to say ‘goodbye’ to Dr Spock (who’s become a trusted friend over the last month and a half) I’m looking forward to seeing how Supernanny compares and whether her no-nonsense approach is what my kids need.

She starts her book by telling us she’ll provide:

Common-sense ways of dealing with [everyday] challenges by taking the child’s age into account.

This sounds good, after all I shouldn’t expect to be able to reason with my 3 year old in the way I (supposedly) can with my 5 year old.

Her first chapter is, Ages and Strategies so-

Let’s Test a Strategy

Supernanny divides this chapter by age. She tells us what makes each group tick and offers coping strategies for difficult situations.

Harry (age 3)


-Reasoning, bargaining and threats don’t work with 3 year olds
-Instead, be firm, set clear boundaries and stick to a routine

In practice:

As SN suggests, I set bedtime at 7 pm and give Harry a wind down with a story (that becomes another and another) – the clock’s ticking. I tell him it’s time to go to the loo and get into bed. He blows up, screaming that he wants me to read ‘Goodnight Moon’ for the fifth time. I tell him firmly that we’ll have another story tomorrow, and now it’s time for bed. More screaming- by now it’s 7.15.

In the end he agrees to go to the loo if he can ride on my back like a horse. He laughs all the way to the loo and back again, shouting ‘giddy up’ and tugging my hair, which he’s using as reins, then gets into bed with a smile.

I tried being firm and sticking to a routine but my tired toddler wasn’t playing ball- in the end gentle bargaining won through.

Ben (age 5)

This section doesn’t really provide much in the way of coping strategies but does talk a lot about what makes kids tick- in this case, they’re supposed to have increased self-control and act less on impulse.

In practice:

I can’t say this rang true as I chased Ben round the room this morning with a toothbrush while he insisted on flying to the moon in his rocket (an open suitcase filled with the toys he’d need for his journey)- by the end I think I’d lost most of my self-control too.


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