Irish YouTuber Jonathan Saccone Joly Shares His Best Parenting Advice

Jonathan is Ireland’s most successful parenting YouTuber with 1,910,685 subscribers and a huge 844,304,264 views. That’s on top of his 1 million Instagram followers. Jonathan, alongside his wife Anna, has been vlogging his life every day for almost 10 years. As the couple started a family, parenting life became the focus of their online videos.

Jonathan, who now lives in the UK, recently beat out competition from contenders including Declan Donnelly, Danny Dyer and Prince William, to be crowned Clas Ohlson's Celebrity Dad of The Year 2019.

Congratulations on winning Celebrity Dad of the year! You must be delighted?

It’s amazing and was a total surprise! The other dads I was up against were of the highest calibre so it’s an honour to come out on top.

I had no idea anyone would even watch my videos, let alone that I would be still doing this 10 years later.

You’ve been on YouTube for almost 10 years, with nearly 2million subscribers! Wow! Did you ever think when you started that you would be here today, as successful as you are?

I’d have liked to say that I foresaw all of this, but that’s not the case! I had no idea anyone would even watch my videos, let alone that I would be still doing this 10 years later. I went back to university to do a life restart and I had just graduated when the recession kicked in and all the jobs were gone, so my plan was to use YouTube as a tool to get my creative work out there and help me to get a job. Little did I know it would become the job!

What’s the best part of being a dad for you?

Getting the privilege to raise little people and watch them turn into big people. They surprise me every day and also encourage me to stay young and make every moment fun.

What’s the hardest part?

Watching them grow up and knowing it’s just a lease - my 2 older kids are in school now and that’s the start of them leaving me. You only get a small window when they are just yours and then you have to share them with the world.

With your job as a YouTuber, do you ever really switch off? Or are you always thinking about content and what to film next?

Of course! I used to overwork and the work-life balance was out of sync which created mental health problems, but over the last few years I’ve managed to find that balance - we upload every 2nd day now, instead of daily, and I make sure I take the time to switch off.

Internet safety must obviously be a huge discussion point in your family, what with the nature of your job. How do you teach the kids about being safe online?

It’s my job to keep relevant and informed and therefore I feel this gives me an edge to help keep them safe online.

The fact that I work in this space keeps me very aware of this space, which apps the kids are using, where online kids are hanging out and what signs to watch out for. Some of my friends who are my age with kids tell me they don’t know what the kids are connecting with because it keeps changing, but it’s my job to keep relevant and informed and therefore I feel this gives me an edge to help keep them safe online.

When the kids are older, how do you think they will feel about being able to watch all the highlights from their childhood online?

I don’t have the ability to time travel, but ask me again when the kids are older!

What’s the toughest part of being a family vlogger? And the best?

To be honest, I don’t really consider myself a family vlogger, I am just a content creator - I’ve been doing this for 10 years but my kids are only half that. I see what is expected these days to stay relevant as a ‘family vlogger’ and we are just not creating content like that - my videos are about myself and Anna and our kids are just the icing on top. Most of our viewers are actually age 25 to 50, so we’re not as cool with the kids as we used to be, but I feel like we are in a better place now.

You really put yourselves out there, and sometimes you do get some negative comments or things happening to you – how do you deal with this?

After 10 years in this space... I can handle just about anything!

The best part is that we have all that to look back at. It’s the little day to day bits that you forget which are the most interesting to watch back!

We have to say, us viewers become so emotionally invested in your story and in your family. You know, we laugh along with you, we cry along with you – it’s been a real rollercoaster!

It’s been that for me too, but the best part is that we have all that to look back at. It’s the little day to day bits that you forget which are the most interesting to watch back!

What’s been your favourite thing to film and your least favourite thing to film?

I love just capturing the real moments, telling my story and engaging with strangers! I don’t really have a least favourite thing to film because I just wouldn’t film that!

Screen time is a big pain point for modern day families. How do you manage that with your children, and with yourselves? Do you have screen-free time?

Yes, we don’t let them have their iPads during the week, just the weekend and only until the battery dies. So far, it’s been working well for us.

How do you and Anna juggle your busy lives while staying sane and maintaining a healthy relationship?

The foundation of our family is Anna and I, so we want to make sure that when the kids grow up and leave us, and it’s just us here, that we still like each other! We spend 2 nights a week chilling watching TV together and 1 night a week we go out - it’s just as important to have time as a couple away from the kids.

What’s the best bit of advice on parenthood you have ever been given?

Listen to your instinct - no matter what others might say, you know what your kids need better than anyone else.

What advice would you give, as an experienced dad of four, to other dads starting out on their parenting journey?

Don’t be put off by the first year, as it will all be about mom, but when they hit 2 years sit down and have a proper introduction and that’s when the real dad fun beings!

Can you sum up your parenting style in seven words or less?

Expressive, free, fun and don’t tell mom!

And finally, would you ever consider moving back to Ireland?

It’s my hometown and we go there a lot - there isn’t anywhere like it anywhere else! We’re hoping to buy something over there soon as it’s getting expensive staying at hotels with 4 kids every time we go home!

If you haven’t already subscribed to The SacconeJoly’s on YouTube you can do so here.