Parent podding, once a saving grace for freelancers and working parents during COVID lockdowns, is making a comeback during the summer holidays. The NHS has even launched a Disney-inspired campaign of games and activities to get kids active and off devices this summer
The parent plodding concept can save working parents from giving up their ability to work while ensuring their kids have a fun-filled summer holiday by sharing childcare with other families.
Podding, in a sense, is something that existing homeschooling families have been doing before the pandemic even hit to encourage socialising with other children, to enhance group discussions, and to have a support network when someone needed a helping hand due to a family sickness or unexpected work obligations.
Forming your pod
The phenomenon first took the US by storm due to late school reopenings and rising COVID cases. Some may liken parent podding to a playdate or study group with educational and social benefits.
The UK has many homeschooling sites to go to for insights so that you can be inspired to set up your own local Facebook group or simply set up a Whatsapp group to start.
Parents share the responsibility of volunteering their time and specialist knowledge by keeping to the school curriculum during school term or local child-friendly activities during the school holiday. They can create bespoke fun learning lessons or day-out excursions that may cater to the pod’s interests and abilities.
But for parent pods to work well, parents must be honest about their working constraints, so expectations are met. Some parents may be more active than others on the homeschooling or summer holiday activity front, so other creative ways of contributing should be discussed so the responsibility does not fall on just one or two parents unless they are happy with that.
What is paramount, however, is that each parent sets out realistic goals and expectations of their skill set and those of the children they may be caring for. Planning activities in advance ahead is also wise so you can keep children engaged and actively learning or interacting. If children seem restless take the activity outside or to a different spot, like to a park or on a dog walk.
Parent pods are the perfect way to get kids off their devices
Only 45% of children are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of one hour of physical activity a day. That is why the government has launched a campaign that seeks to inspire kids to get active by using some of their favourite stories and characters from Disney, Pixar and Marvel.
Parents of primary school children across England are being encouraged to get their kids active over the summer holidays, as the government relaunches its 10 Minute Shake Up campaign.
The campaign – delivered by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and supported by Disney – returns in full for the first time in 3 years after it was paused in the first year of the pandemic and only partially returned last year.
The 10 Minute Shake Up aims to inspire children and parents to get active together by breaking down the recommended daily hour of activity into manageable chunks by playing fun games together, using some of their favourite characters from Disney’s ‘Frozen’ and ‘Encanto’, Disney and Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’, and Marvel titles including ‘Black Panther’, ‘Captain Marvel’, ‘Thor’ and ‘Iron Man’, among others.
The Shake-Ups are play-along games around 10 minutes in length and can be played by one or more people. From Mirabel Guards the Magic Candle inspired by Disney’s ‘Encanto’ to Buzz Lightyear’s Ball Challenge inspired by Disney and Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’, there are over 40 games for people to choose from.
Children’s activity levels usually drop during the holidays when they no longer have daily PE sessions, playtime at school, and no travel to and from school.
Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said:
Being active is vitally important to living longer and healthier lives, and helps kids to feel good, build confidence and develop important skills.
The 10 Minute Shake Ups are a great way for children to have fun over the summer holidays, and these free activities will also help parents keep their kids entertained for less, while making sure they’re getting the daily exercise they need to stay healthy.
Data also shows that less than half (45%) of children are getting one hour of physical activity a day, with those from more deprived backgrounds less active than those from more affluent families.
The statistics specifically show that there is also an ethnicity gap with children and young people from white British (48%) backgrounds more likely to be active than those from Asian (39%), black (36%) and other ethnic minority (38%) backgrounds.
Professor Kevin Fenton, OHID’s Regional Director for London, said:
Children often find themselves bored with so much time on their hands during the summer holidays, and it’s often a challenge for parents to keep their kids entertained, particularly if people are on a tight budget.
Data also shows that those from ethnic minority communities are also less likely to get the one hour of physical activity as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer.
These Shake Up games are a great way for every child – regardless of their background – to have fun for less while staying active and healthy.
Packs including sample games were sent to all primary schools in June for children to take home. All of the 10 Minute Shake Up games can be accessed for free on the 10 Minute Shake Up hub on the Better Health Families website.
Dan Scott, UK Retail Director and Head of Disney Healthy Living UK, said:
Through our long-term collaboration with the 10 Minute Shake Up and our wider healthy living commitment, we know Disney stories and characters can help inspire millions of children and families to be more active by making exercise simple and fun.
And this year will be no different, with a fantastic range of games using some of our most-loved stories there for everyone to try over the summer holidays.