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Gemma Atkinson has praised her little girl for always being able to lift her spirits after a hard day at work- and hopes one day she has amazing memories of the silly games they play.
The Hollyoaks star, 37, shared some exclusive quotes with Women's Health about her life as a mum as she launches Creating Happy Memories, the family-focused campaign from Family Action supported by Fisher-Price.
As a busy working mum, she knows how hard it can be to juggle work with family commitments, and she admits that as she has gotten older she has been filled with admiration for her own parents for going above and beyond for her when she was younger.
She reflected: 'It’s massively important for me to play with Mia. I still remember the games that my parents played with me. I remember my dad making a tent out of a bedsheet in the living room one night because it was bad weather we can play out so he's like "don't worry we'll camp in the house" and looking back it probably was a real hassle for them to do that, but I still remember it and I want Mia to have those memories with those, you know, the silly games we did which I'm sure one day she’ll look back and she’ll say "did you really do that for me?" and I will say "yes at the time, it was it was an important part of your life."
Fisher Price's campaign is aimed at inspiring parents and caregivers with easy-to-do, accessible ways to play with their children over the summer - without breaking the bank.
To get the ball rolling, the Cheshire-born star and Mia, whose dad is Gemma's partner Strictly star Gorka Márquez, 31, had a go at 'junk modelling', an activity that delivers a double whammy of boosting a child’s development and their own confidence to play. It's also a great way to use up bits and bobs from the recycling bin.
Gemma added: 'I think it's massively important to not let everyday stresses of parenthood affect the time with your child. It’s one of those things, you know, you can get so busy making a living you forget to have a life and, you know, from age zero to five flies by. Mia is almost three and it's just gone so quick.
'It's kind of like reset for me when I play with Mia, it always de-stresses me. I could have had a horrible day at work driving home so frustrated and I walk in the door and she comes running up saying ‘look what I’ve done today’ and it feels amazing to be home with her.'
Dr Jacqueline Harding, an expert in child development and neurophysiology at Middlesex University London, believes simple eye contact and attention is what children crave, from their earliest days with games of peek-a-boo to more advanced play.
She said: 'The good news is that what your young child or older children want is social interaction, and that’s free. So, first of all, don't fear a child saying they’re bored, because children will be their best selves during play. And we don't have to provide for them every moment, we don't have to take them to a theme park or zoo every day and all the rest of it - think back, through the perspective of the child, through their eyes.
'What did you really, really want? You wanted your mum, dad, carer or grandparent to watch you. A good way of battling boredom is to set a child a challenge - you can have a challenge per day - to make a robot out of boxes, have a treasure hunt, maybe something sensory based like a bit of gardening, or go to the park or whatever you want.'
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