Jo Frost's Toddler Rules- Finished Book Summary (Stuff I need to remember)

I have read a couple of parenting books this past year and skimmed through several Parent's Magazine. However, Jo's book is the first book that really makes sense to me. I always loved watching her on Super Nanny, but her book is even better. She is one woman who knows her stuff. Everything I have practiced on Sunny has worked.  These notes are mainly for my own records to reflect back on when needed.

Here are my favorite tips she shared.

1. Write down your house rules, even if kids can't read yet.  Word them in simple language and put the rules somewhere you can see them everyday. For me, this will most likely be on the fridge or our Dinner Menu White Board.

Sample Rules For a 2 year old can look like:

1. Listen and Follow Directions
2. Clean up your toys after use

I like to offer a Consequence Board as well

1. After two warnings, you will get a time out. Time out will be in a corner where you can still see mom, and will be 2. and a half mintues (your age)

2. If you refuse to stay in time out, you will lose a priviledge, (This one may have to wait. Sunny has no clue what priviledges are).

Communicating With Your Child

When you are stating your boundaries and expectations, Jo says to speak in a way that your toddler understands what you are saying to them.  Here are her tips:

1. Get close to the child, no more then 3 feet away.
2. Make eye contact
3. Express yourself in a simple, straightforward language. "I want you to put your book away on this shelf now."
4. Always show conviction and respect in your tone.

Three Simple Steps to Positive Behavior

1. Tell the child what to do
2. Show the child how to do it (role model)
3. Praise and reward when child does it correct.

I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement and avoiding any negatives such as using "No" all the time. I think by stating what you want the child to do instead, works better. Here is an example.

If I notice that Sunny has not picked up her toys, saying "Sunny, I love when you pick up your toys, you are so good at it, can you show me how good you are at doing it right now." Timing her with a stopwatch and saying, "Hurry, Hurry, you have ten seconds" this method works like a charm.

Another important Rule that I need to set for myself is to limit screen time.  I have been so awful at putting her in front of the TV while I get things done. After reading Jo's book, I know that screen time should only be 30 minutes or less at age 2.  Kids brains develop from interaction and fine motor skills.

I also am working on having more structure in her day and to not get so uptight about messes. Because, according to Jo: Toddlers and messy and it is good. Parents need to allow it. Messes such as fingerpaint, clay and sand, etc, playing in dirt or mud, it is all good for them.

Sunny gets very bored and wants a lot of interaction. The issue I run into when it's just her and I at home, is how to constantly entertain her and get things done as well.  Her attention span is only so long, and both of us do get stir-crazy if we are confined in the house for to long.  Taking her out of the house and having her be entertained by others (besides me) is what I am aiming at.

Rodney and I were talking and we both decided that Sunny needs to belong to something where she is around other people and learning at the same time. We are looking into different programs offered here such as possibly dance, toddler yoga or tumbling, toddler art classes.

I think the more stimuli she gets, the better her behavior may be. It may be worth the extra expense.

Some other info that Jo shares is using consistant discipline.  

I have been so lacks at discipline.. At first, I let her get away with things, just to avoid a tantrum or crying. Now I know how wrong that is. According to Jo:

Kids feel the most safe and secure when they know their boundaries and have consistant discipline. Kids who are not disciplined are the ones who feel the most insecure.

Parents teach positive behavior through love, praise and modeling correct behavior.  

One huge eye opener Jo emphasized is:

Kids need the most discipline up to Four years old. That is when their brains are learnin and developing for life. If correct behavior is not taught until after 4, it is often too late and kids have an established behavior that may be difficult to break.

Toddlers need constant communication and repetition. Reading the same book over and over is increasing her vocabulary, and looking at more ISPY books is great at keeping her attention. She loves those kinds of books.
  I have started communicating to Sunny more and letting her know what is going on, where we are going, what we are doing, and what behavior I expect from her. I see a huge change in behavior.  Here is an example:

When we are going somewhere, I will say, "Sunny, we are getting ready to go somewhere, let's go find our shoes and put them on."

"Sunny, we are going to get into the car now, can you put yourself in your carseat and buckle yourself in." Do you need my help?"

"Sunny, we are going to an appointment and I need you to be on your very best behavior while we are there."

"Sunny, this is an elevator, it will take us up to where we need to go."

"Sunny, we are now at the appointment, do you remember when I told you to be on your best behavior" Can you show me what a good girl you always are."

"Sunny, I see you are being so good right now. I have been watching you and I am so so proud of you."

This method works amazing. I have seen not only her vocabulary expanding, but her behavior is improving too.

There are more notes I need to take, but will do so later.  Highly recommend this book.


Mango Salsa (see January archive on right for recipe)