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Exclusive: James and Ola Jordan on toddler Ella's tantrums, potty training and screen time

Catch up on the Strictly stars' latest parenting column

Sophie Hamilton
Sophie HamiltonParenting Editor
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Professional dancers James and Ola Jordan are slap bang in the middle of the terrible twos with their toddler Ella, who hops from adorable angel one minute to headstrong tantrum the next.

MORE: Toddler Ella pulls parents Ola and James Jordan's heartstrings on nursery trip

The couple, who formerly starred on Strictly Come Dancing, opened up about Ella's latest antics in their HELLO! parenting column, revealing all about her affectionate yet sometimes challenging behaviour.

WATCH: Ella helps dad James with the shopping - and it's so cute

James told us of Ella's occasional meltdowns: "I walk around on eggshells not to upset her but I shouldn't be like that. We often give in for an easy life - we need to be tougher."

Parents around the country will undoubtedly relate to this. Our gorgeous little ones try so hard but they are not the bosses of us!

In Ola and James' column below, they tell us all about their week with Ella – the highs, the lows, and the funny moments…

James' argument with Ella

Ola: The other morning I was in the gym working out and then I heard all this arguing. I came out and said, 'What's going on?' James went, 'We are having an argument,' as if she was 13. She's two!

James: We were arguing because she nearly fell off her scooter and then she got angry with it and threw it on the floor. I said, 'Oh Ella don't do that, you'll break it. Pick it up,' and she went 'No.'

I said: 'Ella, pick up your scooter'. Again she said, 'No.' So I said, 'Ok, daddy not playing with you anymore,' and I went to go inside and she got really upset. So I had a chat with her about playing nicely but she still refused to pick up her scooter.

This went on for maybe 15 minutes, but I wasn't prepared to give in. Eventually, she agreed to pick it up and we carried on playing.

I know she's only two, and I'm very stubborn as well, but I don't want to be ruled by my daughter, because at the moment it's going that way. I'm scared of my daughter! Ella's so clever, she's knows she's taking the pi** out of us.

People try to be their kids' best friends but it never works because they lose respect. My dad was very strict – I wasn't scared of him but I would never question him or answer back when I was young. The respect I had for my dad was huge. Had he tried to be my best mate, that same respect wouldn't have been there.

MORE: Ola and James Jordan's emotional IVF journey with daughter Ella and hopes for second baby

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Who's the boss in the Jordan household?

James returns from his golf trip

James: I had a lovely two-day trip away last week. My golf was shocking but it was nice to catch up with friends like Brian McFadden, Mark Foster and Chris Hollins and there were a load of rugby guys there who are so much fun. I had a chat with Kyran Bracken too who did Dancing on Ice like I did – he fell in love with ice skating to the point where he set up his own tour and bought his own ice rink. He went to town!

Ola: He arrived home afterwards and went: 'You don't mind if I go and play golf, do you?' I'm not kidding. He just got back, his daughter was missing him and then he was playing golf again. I don't know, I need to sort this out. Ella did go to nursery that day though.

James: I played really well though that day. I had to get rid of some demons because I played so badly on the trip.

Ola: Anyway, I had a lovely time at home with Ella while he was away. On the first day I took her out to make her tired so I could have an early night, so mummy could sit down and do her thing.

Well, I made her so tired that she fell asleep in the car on the way home, I transferred her into her bed and she slept for about two hours. Then she didn't go to bed until about 11pm! I ruined my whole evening. I was so annoyed!

James: See, I go away and everything goes wrong! I go for two days and she can't cope without me (laughs).

Ola: It was nice to have a bit of time to myself though and have control of the TV remote.

The big iPad debate

Ella is busy watching her iPad as we speak

James: She's more interested in looking at her iPad than saying hi, which is something we're going to start monitoring now. We don't let her go on it that much, but she does like her iPad.

Ola: We tell her when we want her to use it which is bad because sometimes I find myself saying, 'Go on your iPad' because I need five minutes to do something and I don't want her to distract me. It's an easy option... but it's not good for her.

James: She does learn from it as well though.

Ola: What does she learn from it?

James: Well, when she watches things, it helps with her language. She comes out with new words and we go, 'Oh, how did you know that? We don't say that to you.' Her speech is getting much better.

I want to monitor the iPad because at the moment, if she goes 'iPad', we give her the iPad. I think we'll have to make it a once a day thing. The other times we'll just say it's not working!

MORE: Strictly star James Jordan faces his biggest fear for daughter Ella

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Ella and her mum and dad enjoying the outdoors     Photo credit: Nicky Johnston

Ella loves the outdoors

Now the weather is getting nicer, we spend a lot more time with her outside. She's so sweet, she asks us to open the door, then goes and gets her shoes on, grabs her helmet and scooter and she scoots up and down outside.

Ola: She's so good actually… as soon as she comes back in, she puts her shoes back in the cupboard.

James: She's always asking to go to the P.A.R.K. We can't say the actual word [laughs]. We have to spell things out now or it's hell.

Ola: Mummy sits there for five minutes thinking, 'What is Daddy saying?!'

James: Her understanding of things is really improving, she's like a little sponge. The other morning, Ella wanted her breakfast so she went to the cupboard, got her cereal, gave me her bowl and told me to get the milk out the fridge, which I think is quite cool.

Ola: She's at a Montessori nursery where they teach the children to do things for themselves. She really wants to do things on her own and if you do something for her, she gets really angry.

James: Yesterday, Ola came home with food shopping and Ella said, 'Ella help,' but Ola started doing it on her own, so she had a massive meltdown.

Ola: So I let her help me. She likes taking all the shopping out of the bags – even the heavy milk.

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Dad James enjoys his Ella cuddles     Photo credit: Nicky Johnston

Super affectionate Ella

James: We've always been very affectionate with Ella, kissing and hugging her and telling her we love her, and she's the same with us.

Last night she came to our bed at 3am and cuddled up next to me, kissed me on my head, held my face and said, 'I love you daddy'. I love that she's like that and knows what affection is.

Ola: Sometimes the evenings are really hard and draining for me because I sit there for ages while she falls asleep, but yesterday she asked for a cuddle so she sat on my lap cuddling me. She was stroking me and telling me she loves me.

It's such a nice part of the day, so bonding. Maybe some people don't kiss and cuddle their kids as much as us, but we love it.

James: It's wonderful. And then other times I think, 'Argh you're so annoying!' That's kids though.

Thinking about potty training

James: We're still trying with potty training but we're not going full-on no nappy because I don't want her pooing on my carpet, and I don't want to shut her in the kitchen like a dog!

She'll sit on the potty next to us if we go to the loo and she pretends. Ola sometimes sits in front of us. Why do you do that though Ola? It's a bit weird…

Ola: Because Ella wants me to [laughs]. Haha, we're all just sitting there.

James: We're getting there slowly but maybe age two is a bit young. It will happen but we're not going to rush it. She's quite switched on so she'll understand eventually.

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The adorable Ella Jordan

A bittersweet Father's Day

HELLO!: What are you doing for Father's Day this year?

Ola: Are you playing golf, James?

James: Maybe. It's Father's Day, right? It's my day [laughs]. We're going to be on holiday in Tenerife so we'll have a nice day together there.

I'll also be calling my mum on the day in memory of my dad. Although I'm a father and it's an amazing thing to be a dad and Father's Day is a lovely thing for me because of Ella, the first thing that comes into my head is that I don't have my dad anymore, so it's sad.

Ola: It's bittersweet for him.

James: I know many people in the country feel like that too. I'm still going to have an amazing day with my daughter though.

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