Given these ongoing and very serious challenges for families, we set ourselves the goal of finding a way to get basic evidence-based advice and support to parents in an attempt to ameliorate, at least some, of these negative lockdown-related risks. From this Families Under Pressure was born.
Of course, at the time, we expected (or at least hoped) that the specific need for which Families Under Pressure was created would be relatively short lived, as the pandemic eased. Little did we know at the time, that families would in fact face a lockdown roller coaster as more or less strict limitations of family activities and travel were imposed either locally or nationally in response to the waxing and waning of infection rates. This meant that the need for the sort of advice provided by Families Under Pressure did not in fact diminish over time and may have grown.
Following its launch, Families Under Pressure was distributed far and wide. It is estimated that the animations were watched by millions of parents. This was achieved by using a range of different media platforms including mumsnet and Channel 4 to disseminate them. One particularly effective tactic was to use the social media activity of the celebrity parents who narrated the animations, people like Danny Dyer, Olivia Coleman and Holly Willoughby, who had many millions of followers.
Initial feedback from parents about Families Under Pressure was very encouraging with the simple, light-hearted and non-judgemental style being especially appreciated. Different parents valued different tips to different degrees – some especially appreciating our tips for communicating clearly, others our focus on house rules while still others particularly appreciated the advice on how to use reward and sanctions to promote better behaviour.