The Three Day Nanny TX: 9 Oct 2013, Week 41
The Three Day Nanny will follow professional nanny, Kathryn Mewes, as she answers the cries for help from desperate parents. Across this new series, Nanny Mewes will help families struggling with fussy eaters, temper tantrums and sleepless nights. Using her unique three day plan of action, Kathryn will move into households which are being ruled by tearaway tots to give parents the tools they need for a happy home.
With twenty years of experience, Nanny Mewes will be championing the viewpoint of the child. By bridging the gap in communication, Kathryn will empower the parents with the skills they need to effectively interact with their children.
Episode 4/4, Wednesday 9th October, 8pm, Channel 4
This week, Nanny Mewes is called in by single mum Susan, who lives in Woking, to help with her troublesome sons – five year-old Isaac and three year-old Jacob.
Since Susan separated from the children’s father, she has struggled to cope with the boys. Their dad still sees them a couple of times a week, but Susan bears the brunt of nightmare mealtimes and terrible bedtimes.
Kathryn begins her visit by observing the family, and quickly realises that Susan keeps the peace by giving in to the boys. She feeds them breaded chicken every night ––as they won’t eat anything else – and gives in at bedtime, as well as often allowing them to sleep in her bed.
Kathryn’s first day in charge of the household starts well as the boys are on their best behaviour. But it’s not long before there’s an altercation – and Susan’s attempts at discipline are ignored by the children. It’s a chance for Kathryn to coach Susan in using a ‘firm’ voice and to teach her how to take control.
At dinner, Kathryn starts to introduce new foods – including spinach, soya sauce and rice. By showing the boys that after six tastes their body will like a new flavour, she gets them to try everything.
But bedtime looms, and it’s time for Kathryn to implement a new system. Susan must not speak to the children after they have gone to bed, and if the boys wake up in their own beds then they get a reward. Isaac starts screaming minutes after lights out but with Kathryn’s support, Susan stays in the living room and it’s not long before he is back in bed.
However, at 1am Jacob wakes and heads to mum’s bedroom. Usually, she’d let him stay. But this time, she takes him back to his own room - coached by Kathryn who reminds her not engage with him. Between them, Jacob and Isaac try to get into mum’s bed an incredible twenty-six times. Eventually, Kathryn advises Susan to close her bedroom door and ignore the cries from outside. It’s tough – but she manages it. Next day, everyone wakes up in their own bed, so the boys get their reward.
At lunchtime, it’s a washout as the boys refuse to eat the meatballs Susan has made, so Kathryn implements her “take it or leave it” approach. Consequently, the boys - who are hungry after leaving lunch – make, and more importantly, eat pizza at dinner - it’s a breakthrough.
But Isaac still has one fight in him – and night vision cameras at bedtime reveal him encouraging Jacob to go downstairs and disturb Susan in the living room. He pushes things too far when he bangs Jacob’s head against the wall and whilst he isn’t seriously hurt, Isaac will have to answer for it in the morning.
Next day, Susan takes Isaac into his room for a serious talk – and leaves him to think about his actions. Isaac gets angry – throwing his toys down the stairs again – but eventually he’s ready to apologise to Jacob, and clear up his mess.
Progress continues with a successful bedtime, and although Isaac gets up once in the night, he lets Susan lead him back to bed, where he stays until morning. Kathryn is delighted – and suggests they take mum breakfast in bed. The family then have Sunday lunch – unthinkable three days earlier – before it’s time for Kathryn to leave.
Four weeks later, and the children continue to try lots of new foods – including a curry for Isaac. After a bumpy start, the bedtime routine is working. Susan is much less stressed, and the whole family is happier.
Episode 3/4, Wednesday 2nd October, 8pm, Channel 4
Kathryn heads to Harrogate to help the Vickers family where parents, Lisa and Ross, are battling with the behaviour of their sons, five year-old Alfie and three year-old Jack.
The boys have pushed Mum in particular to breaking point with their bad behaviour as Alfie has regular rages of anger, whilst fussy-eater Jack is hard to control and has no sense of danger. To add to the mounting pressure on the family, Ross works six days of the week so struggles to support Lisa with parenting duties.
Nanny Mewes answers the family’s cries for help – and begins her three-day stay by observing the family. With a temper tantrum from Alfie kick-starting the visit, Kathryn notes how mum Lisa struggles to manage the boys when she is on her own.
But the boys are in for a shock when Kathryn takes charge of the household. Despite Alfie misbehaving whilst the new house rules are explained, he soon learns that they are here to stay. Nanny Mewes tackles his anger by removing him to his bedroom to calm down – and within ten minutes the new technique has worked.
The next task is to tackle Jack’s behaviour outdoors which normally involves him running off as Lisa chases him. To combat this dangerous cycle, Kathryn introduces a system of landmarks to give him safe destinations to run to. Within minutes, it’s working – and Kathryn realises Jack is more capable than Lisa knows.
Lisa’s other concern with Jack is fussy eating. Nanny Mewes tackles the heart of the issue by showing mum - through a practical exercise - that Jack needs to reduce the amount of juice he drinks as his stomach is being filled with liquid. The progress is clear when Jack eats a good lunch as a result of the change to his diet.
As Nanny Mewes’ stay progresses, she wants to teach Alfie techniques to manage his anger. When he kicks off, Kathryn shows him how to use a tent in his bedroom as an ‘angry spot’ – somewhere to cool down. Later, when he refuses to leave a neighbour’s paddling pool, Kathryn takes him to his angry spot – and once he’s calmed down he realises what he’s done wrong. It’s a small step forward.
Next day, Kathryn shows self-employed carpenter Ross what Lisa usually deals with on a daily basis. The exercise involves trying to walk the boys to the shops – and soon Ross also needs to use Nanny Mewes’ landmark technique.
Throughout her visit, Kathryn also works to address the parents’ issues from their childhood – which include Ross’ confession that he was often in trouble as a boy. Dad realises that he must play a bigger role with the boys – and puts this into action by taking Alfie to his angry spot when he next kicks off.
However, despite the parents making good progress, Alfie is still lashing out. Kathryn decides to step away from the family to give everyone time to get used to the changes.
A week later, Nanny Mewes returns for her final day. Lisa is keen to show progress on the walk to school, but there is a hiccup when Jack falls and bumps his head. When mum gets upset, Kathryn identifies that she is putting too much pressure on herself to make everything perfect, and works to reassure Lisa.
But family life is improving and Nanny Mewes accompanies the family on a picnic – an activity that would have been unthinkable only a week ago.
Four weeks after Nanny Mewes’ visit, Jack is thriving and – whilst Alfie still gets angry – Ross and Lisa are using the techniques they have learnt to work as a team in improving family life.
Episode 2/4, Wednesday 25th September, 8pm, Channel 4
This week, Kathryn is in Surrey to meet the Woods family to help parents, Sam and Jason, with their four year-old triplets, Abbey, Chloe and Emma.
Mum and Dad’s lives are blighted by their daughters’ daily barrage of tantrums and bad behaviour. It’s triple trouble as Sam spends up to twelve hours a day struggling with the girls’ endless demands whilst Jason is at work. With the parents in danger of splitting up over how to discipline – Dad believes in smacking, whilst Mum firmly disagrees – the family are at breaking point.
Answering their cry for help, Kathryn moves into the household to implement her tailor-made three day action plan. She begins by observing the family before her focus quickly shifts from the girls onto Sam and Jason. Nanny Mewes suspects that their totally different parenting styles are the root of the family’s problems. Mum is too soft and gives in to the girls whilst Dad shouts and uses negative language. Kathryn believes that as a result of the confused parenting styles, the girls have responded by taking over control of the house.
On the first day of the new regime, Kathryn tackles one of Mum’s biggest battles. By introducing a technique to get the girls dressed every morning – in which the children lay their clothes out on life size drawings of themselves – the task becomes fast and fun. But with the twins ignoring Mum, Sam is worried about taking the triplets out of the house for their own safety. However, Nanny Mewes tackles this issue on a trip to the park when the triplets are able to walk around freely without any major incident. It’s progress for the girls – and for Mum.
But when Dad gets home from work, the tension returns as Jason feels that Sam panders to the girls. However, the progress is clear the next morning when the girls dress themselves for the first time. To try to align Sam and Jason’s parenting styles, Kathryn does an exercise with Sam to encourage her to be firmer with the girls.
When Nanny Mewes chats with the girls they reveal how much they hate Dad’s shouting. Kathryn’s questioning of Jason reveals his own father’s strict approach – but he doesn’t want his girls to feel the same about him. Tackling this issue, Kathryn works with Dad on an alternative parenting method for successful meal times by using marbles as rewards for good eating and behaviour.
On the final day, Kathryn is ready to tackle family outings. Usually a scene of carnage, she gets them to agree some ground rules and set clear boundaries in advance of a trip to the local restaurant. Nanny Mewes’ influence is clear when the meal is a success through both parents pulling together and looking out for each other – something they’ve not done in the past. Dad also promises the triplets that he will never smack them again - which results in the girls giving their parents a big thumbs up.
Following on from Kathryn’s successful three-day stay, Jason has kept his promise not to smack the girls again, and since the girls have started school they have been dressing themselves. Family life is now calmer and happier than ever before.
Episode 1/4, Wednesday 18th Septmber, 8pm, Channel 4
In the first episode, Kathryn travels to East Grinstead to meet the Rogers family to help parents, Susan and James, with their three-year-old twin boys, Alfie and Harry. Stay-at-home dad, James, needs help with the daily temper tantrums and fussy eating. Meanwhile, accountant Susan, dreads returning home from work to an exhausting bedtime ritual which can regularly last over two hours. With the couple at breaking point, they urgently need help to tackle the bad behaviour which has left them fearful of enjoying family activities in public without a major incident.
Answering their distress call, Nanny Mewes arrives with her suitcase as she moves in with the family for three days. By fully immersing herself in family life, Kathryn can apply her years of experience to identify and solve common problems experienced not just by Susan and James, but by countless parents across the country.
The parents are in for a shock when Kathryn shifts the focus from the boys' behaviour onto their own and suspects they are guilty of ‘over- parenting’. It’s an emotional journey for the whole family as Nanny Mewes helps both mum and dad to tackle the past to allow them to trust their sons and give them the space they need to grow up.
With tips and advice throughout the series, this episode introduces practical exercises such as a ‘wee tree’ for toilet training and tackles the boys’ fussy eating with helpful advice on portion control. As the family begin to make progress, Nanny Mewes introduces one of her reward schemes in which magic stones are earned for good behaviour by Alfie and Harry .
Tackling how to settle a child, introducing a balanced diet and dealing with disobedience – as well as facing up to terrifying tantrums – is all in a day’s work for Nanny Mewes as she shares her advice throughout the series and allows families to look ahead to a brighter future.
Executive Producers: Michele Carlisle and Jamie Isaacs
Series Producer: Simon Urwin
Production Company: Liberty Bell