BabyBallers franchisees are committed to the development and wellbeing of children coming out of lockdown
Millions of pre-school children have spent months at home thanks to social distancing restrictions over the last year. During this ‘new normal’, children between the ages of one to five have struggled to get the invaluable development through playing with others that they need during such a critical developmental stage. In fact, 63 per cent of British parents believed their child had felt lonely during lockdown, an estimated increase of around 40 to 50 per cent compared to normal levels.
So, franchisees at BabyBallers - a multi-skills football franchise - have been speaking to the parents bringing their little ones to classes who have been keen to make up for lost time as playtime kicks off once again.
Natanya Roberts is eager to combat her child’s lack of social interaction during the lockdown. She says: “I started taking my daughter Daisy to BabyBallers in September after the first lockdown. I was apprehensive at first because she’s only two and wasn’t that confident in groups of people. However, she loves kicking a ball, so I took a chance. The coaches were so supportive and enthusiastic from the off, which allowed her to find her feet and now she absolutely loves going to the sessions.
“Like most mums, I wanted my child to experience being in a fun, structured environment with other children and adults, which has been hard to come by recently. It’s so important for children Daisy’s age to socialise - BabyBallers gives her the chance to do this. The sessions are always really energetic and easy to follow, which I think has really benefitted her development.”
BabyBallers provide three different classes - BabyBallers for toddlers from 16 months up to two and a half years old, MiniBallers for children two and a half to three and a half years old, and Ballers for children three and a half to five years old. The sessions help children to increase their confidence through teamwork, friendship and promoting their imagination, independence and creativity.
One parent who believes BabyBallers has boosted his children’s confidence is dad-of-two Simon Eve. “BabyBallers has been perfect for helping my daughters to see their friends and learn skills outside of school. I have been taking my eldest daughter, Alexandra, for the past two years and have just started taking my youngest, Georgia, as well. Because the sessions are so well organised, relaxed and fun my daughters’ confidence and social skills have been boosted massively since attending classes,” he says.
“Over the course of the lockdown, we took part in virtual sessions over Zoom, which the girls looked forward to every week. Of course, it’s not quite the same as being there in person, but we got to see everyone and the girls had a good time, which is the main thing.”
Ensuring children can emerge from the pandemic happy and healthy is now the priority for the BabyBallers team. Chris Elms, business development director at BabyBallers says: “We don’t just instruct children to kick a ball around cones and into a goal, our sessions are structured to include learning with colours and numbers, improving general dexterity and social confidence. We look to inspire and develop the next generation. Children are socially interactive and how their psychological, emotional and social development unfolds is largely dependent upon the nature of their early relationships. BabyBallers sessions provide a positive and structured solution for parents to help their children develop these skills.
“Our franchisees are really enjoying being back and being part of the solution to get children making friends once more. But with over 1,000 children on our waiting list, this is a serious business opportunity for those passionate about encouraging child development in their communities.”