When the TV show Supernanny first began, it was 2004. Flip phones were peak tech, Facebook was still a photo directory Harvard students, and Netflix was still delivering DVDs to your home. The show ran in the United States until 2011, when Supernanny Jo Frost spent nearly ten years on other projects, writing books on common child-rearing struggles, and advocating for child vaccination. But now, Frost and Supernanny are back for the new decade.
The new iteration of Supernanny premieres on New Year’s Day 2020, ushering in a brand-new era of the series focused on bringing families closer together. The key to parenting in the modern era of smartphones and dizzying news cycles, according to Supernanny? Empathy, Frost tells us. The star of the returning show and parenting expert shared some of her favorite parts of being back in action and what she hopes families will take away from the series.
Supernanny, Back in Action
The format of the show will remain the same: Frost will join a new family each week and spend two weeks with them working through a parental struggle. Each episode, Frost tells us, “We're able to peep into the minds of families that have some parental challenges.”
However, the issues now take a different shape than when she began advising in ’04. Frost doesn’t have kids herself, but she has witnessed parenthood evolving throughout a childcare career spanning decades.
“America is evolving. We've seen a lot of things brought to the top to a boil,” Frost says. “Families really having to become more conscientious about where their barriers are and standing behind what we believe and the importance of how they want to raise their families.”
Going into 2020, Frost has her work cut out for her. “If you think about it, in the last decade, we had the Recession hit, we've had a higher incidence of gun violence, we've had inflation that hasn't really savvied up to living costs—certainly, a lot for families to be concerned about.”
Frost, known for her sometimes strict demeanor in past seasons, is focusing deeply on the emotional wellbeing of the families she works with this season. Family wellness and mental health is a lifeline running through the new episodes, Frost says.
Originally from the United Kingdom, where Supernanny first premiered, Frost admits to noticing differences between her home country and the U.S., where she’s now based. “This country is the only country I've ever been in that doesn't take proper vacation or breaks, family breaks.”
Slowing the Pace
“I believe we live in a culture that solutes and gives medals for the amount that we can put on our plates,” Frost explains. She believes it’s important “to recognize what we can take off our plates and not take the medals that say, 'Oh, I've juggled 20 plates at once.’”
Frost wants to be a voice ending that dynamic. “We see parents saying, ‘I wish I had more than 24 hours.’ We have to work with what we've got. We've got to slow down a little bit,” Frost says. “Not overscheduling ourselves so that the children spend more time in the car. Eventually, kids will play the piano—you don't have to fit ten things in at once.”
The New Supernanny Goal
And that’s what she says her goal is with this new season: Helping families make time and space for each other—parents and their kids, spouses with their partners, and extended family members too.
If families can do that, they’ll “have more room for all those squidgy, squashy, fluffy moments that make us feel good in between the moments that are full of adversity and struggle at times.
“You're going to want to have your pad and pen out when you're watching,” Frost warns us, promising comedy and tear-jerking moments right alongside parenting tips you’ll want to steal for your own home and kiddos.