Singer Sam Bailey has joined forces with Kelloggs to promote the importance of breakfast and giving your child the opportunity to partake in breakfast clubs at school. We caught up with her to ask her about the project and why it's about so much more than just the food.
Please can you tell us about your involvement with the Kellogg's Breakfast Club Awards?
I was approached by Kelloggs to be an ambassador for their Breakfast Club Awards, one of the reasons being- I have quite a good link with the Breakfast Club as I used to work at one. I am also a qualified play worker level 2 so I can work with all children of school age. I worked at one ten years ago- not only that but two of my three children went to breakfast club. I noticed a significant difference in the way that they were before going to after. They absolutely loved it so when I was asked about this, I was like 'Oh my goodness, I know so many people that don't know the benefits of breakfast club'. It's not only celebrating breakfast clubs and all they do across the country but also sending a message out there that it's so important for children to get a kick start for the day and breakfast clubs do exactly that. They are critical to ensuring that children get the best start to the day and succeed at school. Hungry children are unable to learn. My children were rushed in the morning when I was in the prison service so I started taking them to a breakfast club and they thrived. My daughter is in the top set for maths now and my son is so confident and he socialises so much better than how he did before he went.
There is so much research that has gone into this with Kelloggs. They did a study with 2,000 children, aged between 5-16 and it revealed that feeling confident is the biggest success driver. Most kids who go to these clubs feel more confident and they can socialise with all different age groups and teachers- they can sit down and have breakfast with them. I was really proud and pleased when I got asked to do it.
Why is breakfast such an important meal of the day, for people of all ages?
People can't think properly- your brain doesn't function properly unless you have food. When you have breakfast in the morning- if it's a rushed breakfast- kids don't want to eat. When I was in the prison service, we had a rushed breakfast. By the time 10am comes around, the kids are leaning into their hands, trying not to fall asleep and can't function properly. It's scientific fact that they have not had their fuel for the day. If it's a carb- a cereal, porridge or toast- anything like that will fuel them for the day. It's important for everyone to have breakfast. I'm one of those people who can't eat breakfast as soon as I wake up- I have to leave it about an hour. For those parents who get up quite early in the morning and trying to get their children to eat- they don't want to eat at that time. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day which is why it's so important to have breakfast and breakfast clubs do that. They entitle your child to have a good, solid breakfast meal before their classes. By the time it kicks into their metabolism it's time for school and they can learn better because they can take things in.
Why do you think that breakfast clubs increase socialization, improve attitudes towards learning and boost concentration?
The reason it boost concentration is because you're having a solid meal and you are starting to use your brain earlier in the morning. You are kick starting your daily routine a lot earlier and your energy levels are heightened. A lot of parents out there (I'm one to put my hands up for this) have missed the alarm, then everyone gets ready at 8.20am, you're all rushing to school and the kids are tired because they have missed their breakfast. With this, you don't have to worry about anything. You can take your child to the breakfast club and they can do their homework in the morning if they are too tired to do it at night. They can get help from the teachers with their homework. It's boosting their socialising skills because they are socialising with the teacher and building their confidence. It's an opportunity many don't get at home- to be able to sit down and have a meal with other people. There are some parents that work from 7am to 9pm so they don't sit down with their children and have a conversation and socialise over whatever they are eating. This does happen at a breakfast club- so that child is getting an interaction that they wouldn't normally get at home. They are able to talk to children of all ages, which is an opportunity they don't get in the classroom.
20% of teachers reported an increase in hungry children in the last year- so when families are struggling financially, why do you think breakfast is the thing that's overlooked?
When you think of a hungry child, many people tend to just think of dinners. When my kids come home from school they are really hungry and want their dinner. Many people don't realise the implications of a child not having breakfast in the morning and this is why we are doing this- to celebrate the people who do. We are trying to get other people on the bandwagon as well. There are other people that should be thinking about their schools. If there are any teachers that are reading these articles- they should know the benefits of having a breakfast club. It's the most important meal of the day, it doesn't take a lot to feed someone at breakfast time. It's not just about the eating side of it, it's about confidence. Hungry children don't do well at school so that's why we need to make people aware that this is the way forward.
The results showed that 60% of children see happiness as their life goal ahead of money and marriage- so is that something you promote as a parent and were you surprised at this statistic?
Well, my son wants to be a ninja and I said to him- 'if it makes you happy- that's fine'. I have always said to my children- you have got to be happy in a job. If you're not happy in a job, you're in the wrong job. I have always instilled that in my children. I thought it would have been money- and when the kids were asked who they thought the most successful person in the world is- they put the Queen. The Queen! She's very successful- she's the Queen, she's probably the most successful woman in the world. But in order to be successful, I think that happiness is the best thing in the world. To hear that from all those children who were polled- I personally think that we need to listen to our children more because they know what's best. I never thought 60% would have said that and I think that's fantastic.
Children feel that confidence is the biggest success driver- so how do you help your children to be confident individuals other than sending them to breakfast club?
My son really does struggle with confidence. He loves playing computer games so he stays indoors a lot and a couple of weeks ago we took him skiing. He's not really confident with anything, he won't go on any rides but we all had a skiing lesson together and he absolutely loved it. When the man was telling him that he was doing really well, his confidence kicked in and he realised he was really good at it. He has asked to go again. So we are going again next week and this will build up his confidence further.
If your child is not confident you have got to find something that they are good at and then use that. My daughter is good at baking, she loves to make cakes and we ask her to make cakes all the time because it builds her confidence.
Even if it's playing a computer game and you play along with them and they win- without even knowing it- you have built their confidence up because they beat you. Then you can take it that little step further- that's what I do with my children anyway. Make them feel confident by saying 'wow that's really good- I couldn't do as good as that!'- then you're quid's in. My children are quite confident now- my son not so much but he's still my baby.
Half of kids claimed that they got their confidence from their mothers- so how important is it for you to be confident in yourself to be able to pass this down to your children?
It's very important- you have got to learn to take a few knocks along the way and I have taken my fair share of knocks but you just have to stand up again. I have tried to instil in my kids that it's so important to stand on your own two feet and be strong in whatever you're doing. My eldest lacks a bit of confidence and I genuinely believe that it will come. There are things that she is really, really good at, she just needs to believe it herself. Hopefully, when she goes to secondary school and she's in the classroom, they will see that talent and that goal in her and the things she can do. She is really good at writing- she's writing stories and is good at English but she's got to find that herself. She's got to find the things that she's good at.
I have always said to them- you're not going to be good at everything. Don't be disheartened if you're not good at something- you're not perfect and you can't be perfect at everything. You are going to have weak points, everybody has weak points- I've got weak points, my husband has got weak points- lots of weak points (I'm joking- he's sat behind me). So, I've always told them you're never going to be good at everything so find something you are really good at and push yourself.
Another finding is that children think grown-ups with be more successful if they were happier and had more friends- so what are your thoughts on this?
If I had too many friends I would have to juggle them about- wouldn't I? I find it stressful when you have too many friends. If you have a party, you've got to invite all of them around and then it just becomes a real stress because you are cleaning and tidying up after them. Sometimes it probably doesn't benefit you to have loads of friends.
I have a really good circle of friends and people that I call really close friends so I am very lucky. I am very happy with the friends I have got- they don't want for much- because I am in the public eye- they don't ask if they can come with me to things- they are just there to support me and they are great.
What is next for you?
I've got my album coming out on the 16th September- a brand new album called 'Sing My Heart Out'. My single is already out called 'Sing My Heart Out' and I have got a tour next year called 'Sing My Heart Out' which is running from March to May next year. So I will be going up and down the country performing and singing my heart out! See what I did there? I got a plug in four times! I am very busy and just loving life at the moment. It's all good!
Sam Bailey is an ambassador for Kellogg's Breakfast Club awards, which recognises the best school breakfast clubs in Britain and those that run them.
To enter the Kellogg's Breakfast Club Awards go to www.breakfastclubawards.co.uk
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