Sports people lead the way in encouraging more young children to stay active

Sam Quek
Sam Quek

British gold medallist Sam Quek surprises hockey club

Over a quarter of children have sports role models, according to new research by Sun-Pat Peanut Butter. The research reveals that 9 out of 10 adults who played sport as a child encourage their children to be active now, with 65% of adults who didn’t play sport as a child saying they still encourage their child to play sport now.

23% of adults had a sporting role model as a child and 87% of them were active throughout their childhood, and taking a lead from their parents, over a quarter of children (26%) today have a sporting role model.

The research also found that over half a million children want to be a hockey player when they grow up. “When I grow up, I just want to be like Sam Quek,” exclaims one of the girls after playing alongside British Gold medallist for Hockey, Sam Quek who is giving young children a chance to learn hockey skills and see her in action.

Sam is offering young hockey enthusiasts a chance to fuel up and stay active during the Easter holidays. Children aged 6-13 year old can enter for a chance to win a free hockey lesson.

With the research showing that 61% of Brits struggle to find activities to entertain their child during the Easter school holidays, enjoying a game of hockey with Sam Quek could be the perfect solution.

Hockey classes will be taking place in five locations nationwide during the Easter holidays:

Monday 10thApril, 11am – 12:30pm Spencer Hockey Club, London

Monday 10th April, 7pm-8pm Bristol & West Hockey Club, Bristol

Tuesday 11th April, 4pm – 5:30pm Bowdon Hockey Club, Manchester

Thursday 13th April, 10am–11:30pm Whitley Bay & Tynemouth Hockey Club, Newcastle

Thursday 13th April, 4pm – 5:30pm Clydesdale & Clydesdale Western Hockey Club, Glasgow

Be a Valentine and help save Glenfield children’s heart centre

Members of the public can show their love for the children’s heart centre at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital today (14 February) by signing a giant Valentine’s card.

Save Glenfield Hospital Children's Heart Unit
Save Glenfield Hospital Children’s Heart Unit

The 1.8m x 1.2m card will be set up in the Haymarket shopping centre from 10.30am today, giving shoppers the chance to show their support for the campaign to save the centre on a day when matters of the heart are uppermost in people’s minds.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Rory Palmer has organised the Valentine’s Day-themed event as he continues to urge NHS England to reconsider its proposal to close the children’s heart centre at Glenfield.

“On Valentine’s Day, when many people will be reflecting on matters of the heart, we’ve got an opportunity to remind NHS England and the Government that there’s a lot of love in Leicester for the Glenfield children’s heart centre,” he said.

“Nearly 130,000 people have signed a petition to save the unit, hundreds of primary school children have taken part in a day of action to show their support for the campaign, and more than 1,000 people joined the latest protest on Saturday. I hope that hundreds more will show their love for the unit by adding their names to our Valentine’s card tomorrow.”

The giant card – which bears the ‘Hold on to our Hearts’ logo, developed by the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust – will be in the Clock Tower mall at the Haymarket shopping centre until 4pm tomorrow.

It will then be moved to the entrance hall at Glenfield Hospital.

NHS England launched a national consultation on the future of congenital heart disease services last week. The online survey can be completed at 

The consultation will run until Monday 5 June.

As part of the consultation process, NHS England has organised a question time event, which will be held at the Leicester Tigers on 9 March at 5.45pm. Places – which are limited – must be reserved online.

A march in support of the Glenfield children’s heart centre took place in Leicester on Saturday (11 February) and a petition, bearing nearly 130,000 signatures, was handed into Downing Street last week.

Leicester City Council has put £50,000 into a fighting fund to help pay for costs that may be incurred in securing the future of the children’s heart centre.

Night Terrors – Helping Children with Nightmares

Helping children with nightmares
Helping children with nightmares

Many children experience nightmares and night terrors, but most grow out of them. They don’t cause any long-term psychological harm to your child.

Night terrors are very different from nightmares.

A child having night terrors may scream and thrash around, and may not recognise you if you try to comfort them. This behaviour occurs on waking abruptly from deep, non-dream sleep. Your child won’t be fully awake during these episodes and will have no memory of it the next morning.

Nightmares occur from dream sleep (REM sleep). Your child may wake up from the nightmare and, depending on their age, may be able to remember and describe the bad dream to you.

Both night terrors and nightmares in children are described in more detail below, along with advice about what you should do.

Night terrors

Night terrors are common in children aged between three and eight years. A child who experiences night terrors may scream, shout and thrash around in extreme panic, and may even jump out of bed. Their eyes will be open but they’re not fully awake.

The episodes usually occur in the early part of the night, continue for several minutes (up to 15 minutes) and sometimes occur more than once during the night.

Why they happen

Night terrors are more common in children with a family history of night terrors or sleepwalking behaviour.

A night terror attack may be triggered by anything that:

increases how much deep sleep your child has, such as tiredness, fever or certain types of medication

makes your child more likely to wake from deep sleep, such as excitement, anxiety, sudden noise or a full bladder

What you should do

The best thing to do if your child is having an episode of night terrors is to stay calm and wait until they calm down. Don’t intervene or interact with them, unless they’re not safe.

Night terrors can be frightening to witness, but they don’t harm your child. You shouldn’t attempt to wake your child when they’re having an episode. They may not recognise you and may become more agitated if you try to comfort them.

After the episode has ended, it’s safe to wake your child. If necessary, encourage them to use the toilet before settling them back to sleep.

If your child returns quickly into deep sleep, they may have another episode. Making sure they’re fully awake before they go back to sleep can break this cycle.

Your child won’t remember the episode the next morning, but it may still help to have a general chat to find out if anything is worrying them and triggering the episodes. It will also help if they have a relaxing bedtime routine. Try not to discuss the episodes with your child in a way that worries them as this may increase their anxiety.

If the night terror episodes are frequent and occur at a specific time every night, you may find that waking your child breaks the cycle. Wake your child 15 minutes before the anticipated time of the episode every night for seven days. This can disrupt their sleep pattern enough to stop the episodes without affecting sleep quality.

When you should seek help

Most children eventually grow out of night terrors. However, talk to your GP if they’re occurring several times a night or occurring most nights.

Your GP will be able to check whether something that’s easily treatable is causing the episodes. For example, large tonsils could be causing breathing problems at night and waking your child.

In a small number of children who have frequent episodes of night terrors, referral to a specialist service may be needed.


Nightmares are common in children aged three to six years. Most children grow out of them.

Nightmares usually occur later in the night and cause strong feelings of terror, fear, distress or anxiety. Your child may wake up and be able to remember and describe the dream to you.

Nightmares in children can be caused by a frightening experience, such as watching a scary film, or by something that’s worrying them.

What you should do

Talk to your child to find out whether anything is worrying them that could be triggering their nightmares. As with night terrors, making sure your child has a relaxing bedtime routine will also help.

Take your child to see your GP if they’re having repeated nightmares (a series of nightmares with a recurring theme). If your child’s nightmares are being caused by a stressful past experience, they may need counselling.

Useful Links

Tips Playtime with Blind and visually impaired children. (And they help with sensory play for children on the autism spectrum!)

This infographic gives several tips and ideas for parents on games that are suitable for blind and visually impaired children, as well as games that are inclusive and can be played by those sighted and non-sighted.

And how you can adapt toys to be more user friendly for a visually impaired child.

There are creative ways to get your kids involved in arts and crafts too and fun activities that will help them learn how to play and develop their sensory skills. Which is why they are great for children on the autism spectrum!

Playtime with Blind and visually impaired children
Playtime with Blind and visually impaired children by Wooden Toy Shop

5 Tips on Camping Safety for Parents

Boys Playing in the Leaves
Boys Playing in the Leaves

Camping is one of the top summer activities, particularly if you live near a national forest. The fresh air, escape from city noise, and beauty of nature make camping one of the best family-friendly trips one can take in the summer. However, camping often comes with its own set of risks, especially for children. There are a few ways you can make your family camping trip as fun and safe as possible. Here are a few tips:

Be Diligent with Mosquito Repellent

For the most part, mosquitos are only annoying pests that make you itchy. They don’t often pose a major health risk to you or your kids. However, they can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria, and yellow fever. Although diseases from mosquitos are somewhat rare in North America, it certainly is better to be safe than sorry.

People often also scratch open mosquito bites, which leaves behind an open wound. Kids tend to be very nonchalant about picking and scratching at bug bites, which makes them susceptible to infection. The best way to prevent disease and infection is to prevent mosquito bites altogether.

Life Jackets are a Must

Life jackets are a necessity if you are going to be camping near a body of water. Keep in mind that rivers may seem placid on the surface while concealing a strong current beneath. Rivers easily pull even the best swimmer under and drag them across the river bottom.

Lakes pose a threat to children, especially those who are boating, because they have less endurance. If children are thrown from the boat, they could be stunned by the impact, and it will not take much time for them to lose strength and dip below the surface of the water. Accidents can happen even under the watchful eye of the most observant parent. It is best to take safety precautions.

Maintain a Similar Sleep Schedule

Sleeping in the great outdoors can be a very exciting prospect for kids. It is their vacation and they are more than likely prepared to stay awake for the duration of the trip. Unfortunately for them, it is important that their sleep schedule does not deviate too much from their usual routine. Try to keep bedtime within a half an hour of their normal bedtime. To encourage sleep, you may want to bring some foods that aid sleep. It also helps to stick to your home routine as much as possible.

Apply and Reapply Sunscreen

There’s nothing like a sunburn to make a vacation uncomfortable. Sunburns cause pain and peeling along with an increased risk for skin cancer when the child reaches adulthood. To avoid these issues, apply sunscreen a half an hour before your kids are exposed to sunlight. A good rule of thumb is to reapply sunscreen every two hours, but you should reapply it more frequently if the kids are splashing around in a creek.

Pack Plenty of Water

Dehydration is a very common problem in active kids. The excitement of the vacation, along with the hot sun, are a recipe for a dry mouth or other issues related to dehydration. To avoid this problem, offer your children water, not soda or juice, every half hour. You also can take advantage of the rehydration time to reapply sunscreen.

Keeping your kids safe while camping is, in reality, a fairly easy task. If you keep yourself on the same rehydration, sunscreen application, and sleep schedule, keeping track of what your kids need becomes much easier. However, it also is important that you don’t spend your entire trip worrying about your children. If you forget to reapply sunscreen after a dip in the lake, your children will survive. This is your vacation too; take some time to relax and enjoy.

Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.