New animation series offers advice for ‘families under pressure’ during lockdown

Created by Toad creative studio, the films were commissioned by King’s College London and NHS Maudsley Hospital and offer simple parenting advice for those who might be struggling

Each film contains a bitesize piece of advice, with topics including helping your child cope with anxiety, promoting better behaviour, and keeping calm when your kids act up.

A total of 12 films have been released so far – all feature charming animation from a range of illustrators, as well as voiceovers from famous figures such as Olivia Colman, Rob Brydon, Holly Willoughby, Danny Dyer, Sharon Horgan, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Romesh Ranganathan and Shappi Khorsandi.

The films aim to offer concrete advice but also support to parents, and a reminder that no-one is perfect, and nor should they expect to be. The use of contemporary animation – with illustrators including Esther Lalanne, Aysha Tengiz, Caitlin McCarthy, and Giulia Frixione working on the films – helps deliver these important messages while avoiding being twee.

“We are hearing that many families are struggling with restrictions,” says Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke, Professor of Developmental Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, from King’s College London. “This comes as no surprise as research shows that bored and worried children are more likely to play up and cause disruption, and frustrated parents can over-react to these challenges. Very quickly, these sorts of behaviours can escalate and lead to the breakdown of relationships and exacerbation of problems.

“These tips were originally intended to support families dealing with pressures of ADHD and other behavioural challenges but are relevant for families facing the current challenges too. I am sure that having well-loved and recognisable parents narrating and a digestible and shareable format, will really help at a time when it is needed most.”