CVS makes a sporty delivery!

It has been an amazing year for sport in the UK, creating a fantastic opportunity for families to get more active and try out new things together. To mark the occasion, at CVS we launched our very own ‘Summer of Sport’ campaign and we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response it has received.

As part of the campaign we have been running a special competition on our Facebook page, giving families the chance to win £250 worth of sporting equipment (enough to keep even the most active child entertained for some time!).

We’re delighted to announce that we now have our lucky winners.

In the under-3s category it was water baby Florence from Long Eaton in Nottingham.

CVS sales director Iain Williamson dropped by to deliver the huge pile of toys and equipment, which was an early birthday present for the toddler who will be two at the end of October.

Mum Kate opted for the swimming-related prize package after saying how much Florence loves the water and enjoys her weekly water baby class. She has even more reason to want to stay in the pool now, after receiving everything from a ride-on whale toy, to a pool noodle, swim jacket and socks, poncho and special UV suit.

The Batchelor family from Rugby were the lucky recipients of the prize in the 3-16 years old category.

Joe, aged 7, and Katie, aged 6, watched excitedly as their prize arrived, containing everything from a football to a swing ball set, a bike, pogo stick, racket and balls, and a scooter. We just couldn’t hold them back from getting stuck in to all the toys straight away.

Thanks to everyone who entered and remember to check back in with our Facebook page regularly for more fun competitions, play ideas, inspiration and information.

The benefits of baby massage

Relaxation is really important for mum, dad and baby and using baby massage techniques is one way you can promote this, while also being a chance for some quality bonding time together. According to the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), the benefits of baby massage include helping the long-term emotional health of a child, the development of body awareness and coordination, reducing post-natal depression and improving mother/baby relationships.

There are also lots of other benefits, from helping circulation, digestive and nervous systems, to stimulating growth hormones. It can also help manage and relieve the symptoms of teething, colic and colds.

And it’s not just for mums – dads may find introducing a regular massage routine helps them feel closer to baby, especially if they are spending time away at work.

So what is it?

Baby massage involves the gentle and rhythmic stroking of a baby, generally moving from the legs to the arms, hands and body. It can also include the gentle manipulation of joints, such as fingers and ankles. It is done with the hands and you may choose to use baby moisturiser or similar to help your hands glide smoothly.

What do parents say

Before I had my own children I taught the IAIM technique of baby massage to new parents. Along with all the other positive outcomes it is a great tool to enable parent and baby to communicate, by taking time out from a busy day to concentrate on what he or she is trying to tell you.

Babies are born ready and very willing to communicate as a survival skill, but signs can get lost or misinterpreted. Dads can also often feel at a loss when mum is breast feeding, so this gives them a specific task and makes them able to ‘do’ something.

In my own family the massage time has had importance with each successive child, as protected one-to-one time with each specific child. We have adapted the moves as they have got older and they also do it to each other now, which is lovely.

Want to find out more

Check out what baby massage clinics are taking place in your area. A good place to start is to contact your doctor’s office or to ask your health visitor.

Guest blog provided by Beverley Squire, a health visitor and mother of three from Devon

CVS launches healthy families drive!

After December, the month of excess, January and February sees us flocking to the gym in droves and looking for ways for us and our families to be healthier in the coming year.

As a Dad with a young son, it’s a huge priority of mine to ensure that he is eating healthily. To make sure my wife and I have enough time to create healthy balanced meals for Gabriel, we make everything from scratch at the weekend – which only takes a couple of hours – put them in pop-out trays and freeze them. This means we can take something out each morning for his lunch and dinner and we know exactly what’s in his food. 

[caption id="attachment_738" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Gabriel"][/caption]

Gabriel's favourite is Annabel Karmel's Cod and Spinach recipe, which he gets very excited about, as you can see! 

To help inspire parents, CVS has launched ‘Health Kick’ our special healthy families drive, where we will be offering tips, advice and ideas on our blog and interactive Facebook page. You can choose from the following articles for advice from us and our guest bloggers:

Encouraging Children to Eat More Healthily – by Annabel Karmel
Healthy snack SOS!

Family bootcamp – top tips for family fitness by personal trainer Simon Parker
‘Super’ foods for kids

We’d love you to get involved and to share your own hints, tips and recipe ideas.

Perhaps you have a clever way to encourage children to get their five-a-day? Or maybe you have some fun ideas for getting more active as a family? Whatever your experiences, we’d love to hear from you, find us at

CVS is the UK’s largest dedicated provider of childcare vouchers. We work with thousands of parents and carers across the UK. To find out more about childcare vouchers and how they could help you save up to £1866 a year, visit

Family bootcamp – top tips for family fitness by personal trainer Simon Parker

[caption id="attachment_780" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Simon Parker"][/caption] Exercising regularly as a family and encouraging your children to be active is a really important part of keeping them healthy. Coupled with a healthy diet, it is the best way to prevent your child becoming overweight and suffering its many associated health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

But how much exercise do you think your child should be doing each day?

10 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour?

The NHS actually recommends that children aged 5 to 18 should be doing at least one hour of aerobic activity every day. That is physical activity which gets them breathing hard and fast and that has their heart rate up quite a bit. It can be broken down into segments throughout the day.

For children under five who can walk unaided they should be physically active for at least three hours a day. This can be spread throughout the day, indoors or out, and can be things like jumping, skipping, dancing and running.

As well as doing activity which raises their heart rate, it is good to include activities that will help strengthen their muscles and bones.

Swimming is a great example. It is fun to do and uses every muscle group, so is great for cardiovascular fitness.

Stuck for other ideas? Then how about these suggestions for active games and play sessions:

  • Play a game of ‘tag’ or ‘Stuck in the mud’
  • Jumping or hop scotch
  • Building a den out of cardboard boxes
  • Play musical statues
  • Hula hooping
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Playing football
  • Going for walks
  • Swimming
  • Cycling and bike rides
  • Roller skating
  • Scooters
  • Skipping

Older children and teenagers

Joining local or school sports teams or clubs can be a great way for your children to keep fit whilst learning new skills and making new friends. If they’re not so keen on sport or other activities, why not try getting them involved with the household chores (perhaps incentivised by extra pocket money). This can be a good way to encourage them to be more active, and may also give you a helping hand. Try suggesting the following next time they’re looking for something to do:

  • Washing the car
  • Cutting the grass
  • Walking the dog
  • Painting the fence
  • Hanging out the washing
  • Chopping wood
  • Cutting hedges
  • Digging up weeds and gardening

Simon Parker is a Personal Trainer -

These opinions are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Computershare Voucher Services.