Meet the professional nanny who tackles some of the most extreme cases of families in crisis – all in just three days.
Two hour tantrums, incessant demands and tired, stressed-out parents. Kathryn Mewes has spent over 20 years helping families at the end of their tether.
The professional nanny and child behaviour expert has developed her own three-day action plan helping families solve common problems and issues connected with children and raising them.
That's right, she says all you need is 72 hours and you can get any child to behave.
In her TV show, The Three Day Nanny, Kathryn stays with a family for three days and three nights to firstly observe their normal daily life, and then teach them her specific tools and techniques.
Her mission? To create a happier, family home.
"My process is guaranteed 99.9 per cent guaranteed to work - provided you follow my guidelines and remain consistent at all times," she says.
"It's far easier to relax, take a deep breath, maybe bend down to your knees and try and see life through the eyes of a child."
Here are the key principles behind her tried-and-tested three-day process:
1. Total commitment
Kathryn sees parents who have been struggling with a problem with their child for weeks or even months and find it hard to believe things can be transformed in just three days. The key to success, she says, is to apply yourself 100 per cent to the task at hand, give it all your attention and make it a priority - even if it means taking time off work or rearranging social events.
2. Believe in yourself and others involved
You really need to take the whole message on board and have self-belief that it will work. Kathryn even recommends looking in the mirror and repeating 'I know I can do this. I really want to do this and am determined to make the necessary changes'.
The next step is to make sure others are across the details and fully supportive of implementing the process - this includes your partner, grandparents, relatives and carers.
3. Believe in your child
For the process to work, Kathryn says you must be confident your child can change - no matter how bad things have been of late. Once they sense your new-found confidence in them, changes really will start to happen.
In episode 2, Kathryn is helping the Smith family with their three boisterous children. Kathryn thinks Mum Angeline's 'micromanagement' of the kids is escalating their bad behaviour and teaches her that by "stepping back", she'll actually have more control.
6. Three consecutive days
You must plan to undertake the process for three days in a row - no gaps - or you'll find that any progress you make in the first day will become unravelled and you'll have to start all over again.
7. Consistency is everything
The key to changing an undesirable behaviour is to repeat your new version three times in exactly the same way.
"Always do the same thing, with confidence, and do not waver," she says.
Now you've got you some background behind Kathryn's three-day process, here are some of her top tools and tricks to keep in your parenting arsenal!:
Negativity can lead to a downward spiral in mood and behaviour, so if you want to say something to your child to act on, always try to give it a positive spin.
"A positive approach will give you positive behaviour back because children crave attention and they'll get it however they can," says Kathryn in her book The Three Day Nanny.
When kids start to misbehave or throw a tantrum, Kathryn suggests introducing a ''Shout Spot' - basically a place in your home or outside where your child can be guided to sit (or stand) to let off steam. In fact, it can be used as a place for parents to let out their frustrations too - because kids need to know it's okay to shout sometimes. Select a place where people can't be seen or judged.
"If someone is having a tantrum, if someone has bitten or pulled hair then you come here. It’s about calming down," she explains to stressed-out Mum of four Rosie on the show.
This is the best way to focus your child and get them involved in the change process - because kids thrive on praise. The best incentive system is one your child shows an interest in from the start. For example if your child loved trains then use a 'Train chart' as follows:
Stage 1 - A picture of a train. Good behaviour means that another carriage is added - 20 carriages means a reward.
Stage 2 - Good behaviour leads to something being out into one of the carriages. A second reward is due when carriages are full.
Do you have a child that constantly wakes up in the middle of the night and climbs into your bed? Put a string of bells on the outside of your child's and your bedroom door. You'll hear them coming and be able to return them quickly to their bedroom. The sound will also remind your child about what they are doing.
Waiting can be a difficult skill for kids to learn. Next time you're busy doing something - be it making a phone call or cooking dinner - ask your child to wait. Have a shoelace with a knot in one end and a glass jar of button or beads. Each time they manage to wait (start with one or two minutes), hand over a bead for them to thread. When the lace is full, the child earns a small prize.
The Three Day Nanny starts Wed Feb 22 at 9.30pm on Lifestyle YOU.
Her book, The Three Day Nanny: Your Toddler Problems Solved is published by Penguin, RRP $35.