Author Archives: steven maddocks

Combating Children’s Fear of the Dentist

This guest blog and the video below are brought to you by Dental Elite.

Children and adults can be scared of the dentist, a fear known as Odontophobia. However, if you can reassure children early on it is likely they will grow up with a sense of confidence around going to the dentist and thus live a much healthier life.

A fear of the dentist can be caused by several factors. Maybe the child has heard stories from adults or children about experiencing pain at the dentist; perhaps they have sensed anxiety in their parent when an appointment is due; or more likely they just feel a sense of unease at the unknown.

Let’s look at how we can reassure children about a trip to the dentist so they can grow up welcoming appointments, rather than dreading them.

  • Explain the Process
    First, it is important to explain in simple terms exactly what the role of a dentist is and why it is so important to get your teeth checked regularly. You can explain to the child they will need to see the dentist every six months and what will happen during these appointments, so that nothing deems too daunting. However, it’s also important that while you lay out the facts you don’t go into too much detail. Sometimes over-talking around the issue can cause it to be a bigger deal than the child might have thought it otherwise.
  • Work With Your Dentist
    Ask your dentist if they can briefly explain some of the different items around their surgery, such as the x-ray machine. Children will usually enjoy a little ride in the dentist’s chair too as it is something new.
    It’s also important that while you are a presence in the room during your child’s appointment you also stand back and let a bond form between the child and the dentist. Sometimes children will be more willing to do what is asked of them by the dentist than by their parent; and it gives the child a sense of autonomy.
  • Reward Your Child
    You could also reward your child with something extra nice on the day of their first appointment, so they connect the visit to the dentist with something positive. Maybe they get to choose a reading book or small toy as a reward; or you go to the playground immediately after the appointment. This might also take their mind off the check-up as they will look forward to what happens later that day.

Good dental hygiene and getting a regular check-up at the dentist is not only important for lifelong dental health, but it also helps prevent a range of other health issues. If your child needs any orthodontic procedures carried out, such as braces fitted, it’s also important to catch this as early as possible in their development.

More importantly a fear of something can have a lifelong negative impact on children and adults alike, so the more you can do to alleviate odontophobia early on, the more positive experience the child will have with their dental health as they grow up.

Children’s Fear of the Dentist

Movers and Shakers moves into Wanstead

We are very excited to announce the launch of our first Movers and Shakers class in Wanstead!

It takes place on Wednesday mornings from 10–10.30am at:

Wanstead United Reformed Church
Nightingale Lane
London E11 2HD

The class will be taught by the marvellous Holly Elmes.

For now, Erica will be administering the class from her Barnet and Southgate office. However, demand in the area is high, and we plan to start classes in Woodford, Walthamstow and the surrounding area. When several classes are up and running, we will open a separate branch.

Booking for Movers and Shakers is essential. Classes fill up quickly, so don’t hesitate to reserve your child a place using our online booking system. For more information about this class or anything related to Movers and Shakers, please contact us.

Why Buy a Movers and Shakers Franchise?

Winning Formula

Our classes are adored. They are packed. With minimal marketing, sessions are booked up, and delighted young movers and shakers come back week after week. Parents love the reasonable price, easy booking system and pay-as-you-go flexibility. In addition, they absolutely LOVE the classes. It is a no-brainer – Movers and Shakers classes are popular!

Low-risk Investment

As far as up-front costs go, starting a Movers and Shakers Franchise is pretty reasonable. There is no expensive website to set up, no logo to create. It’s all done for you. All equipment is provided for you. We’ll pay for a launch party and help you set up your first few classes. With our guidance, you’ll soon be on your way.

Business Support

Starting a business is risky – a lot of new businesses fail. Why not maximise your chances of success by buying a franchise? With all of the support you’ll receive from our team, you’ll be in a great position to create a business that you are proud of.


This is a business you’ll love. You’ll feel fulfilled, rewarded and have loads of free time as well. Our teachers are always letting us know how much they love their jobs, so just imagine how happy you’ll be owning your own business and providing a unique and inspiring experience for babies and toddlers in your territory.

There’s still time to take advantage of our special summer offer, so enquire now and find out more!

Amazing Offer for New Franchisees

We really want our new franchisees to run fabulous classes, enjoy Moving and Shaking and achieve success. One thing that can boost business immensely is running children’s parties on top of regular weekly classes.

Our highly popular parties are themed according to the birthday girl or boy’s preference and are always loads of fun. They can provide an extra source of valuable income to a business that is already lucrative.

Here’s some recent feedback we’ve received about Movers and Shakers parties:

‘I wanted to say a big thank you, the girls were absolutely great! Everyone loved them and they really made the party special.’
Shonella, Northwood

‘I wanted to let you know that the party went really well and the children loved it. The parents couldn’t get over it and Erica was a complete star! She had a lot to contend with (men watching football and older children a bit stir-crazy on sugar) and she was absolutely brilliant. We have a christening coming up soon and I may just have to do this again to keep the little ones happy for half an hour!’
Marie, Archway

‘Abi was fantastic and all the parents commented on how lovely the entertainment was. The babies all seemed to enjoy themselves and the length of the entertainment was spot on. My son genuinely had a fab time, he was dancing away!! Definitely a big thumbs up! Many thanks & I’ll definitely be recommending a Movers and Shakers party to everyone!
Faz, Finchley

We want to make it even easier for our new franchisees to hit the ground running, so we’ve come up with an amazing summer offer for new franchisees: anyone who signs up to buy a Movers and Shakers franchise by the end of July will win a fabulous SPEAKER SYSTEM!

The system comprises two great pieces of equipment worth well over £300! With this powerful yet easily portable system, any Movers and Shakers Franchisee will be able to run parties and events in big halls and still be heard over the noise of chatty parents.


So don’t delay, find out more about a Movers and Shakers franchise and sing your way to success with our winning formula.

Franchise Success Story

I started Movers and Shakers back in 2009, and it became such a huge success story in my local area that I wanted to expand. After doing some research I decided that a franchise model was the best way to achieve this, but I wanted to make sure that any potential franchisees would be able to replicate my success in their own area. So I started searching for my first guinea pig!

Erica Bartrum had all the qualities I was looking for in the perfect franchisee: a warm and bubbly personality, a confident singing voice and a strong business sense. She became my ‘pilot franchisee’ just over a year ago.

Erica recently sat down for an interview to talk about her experience of running a Movers and Shakers business franchise. Her positive and inspiring answers will give anyone confidence that Movers and Shakers Franchising Ltd has a wonderful future ahead of it! I’m now searching for my next few franchisees, so please contact me if you think it might be right for you or if you’d like some further information.

Gabi Maddocks
May 2015

Here is what Erica said:

Has owning a franchise been good for you?
Absolutely! I really love being my own boss, but it’s great having the support of the franchise and all the materials and advice that comes with it so I wasn’t starting a business on my own from scratch. When I was at school, I used to want to run my own performing arts school; I always knew I wanted to be my own boss. Once I found Movers and Shakers, I realised this was the dream job I’d always wanted!

The biggest complaint of franchisees is that they aren’t given enough support. Do you feel you were trained properly and given enough pre- and post-launch support?
Very much so! Gabi gave me lots of support and training in the lead up to launching. Gabi has always been only a phone call or email away whenever I need advice or support, which is so helpful when starting your own business.

How long did it take before you started making a profit?
I broke even on the franchise costs after only four months of trading.

Do you feel you are making great money out of your franchise?
Yes I do, for the hours I work I feel I earn enough. I earn a steady wage from this which is great after years of freelancing as an actress and drama teacher! In terms of expanding and moving forward, I would like to be able to afford to hire another teacher so I can share more sessions out among employees and take Movers and Shakers to more local nurseries and children’s centres.

How many hours each week do you work on your franchise?
It depends how many sessions I run each week; on average it’s between twenty and thirty hours a week. This includes all admin work and travel to and from venues.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
I feel I’ve been very lucky as my classes have built up well. The biggest challenge so far has probably been finding and securing stable venues that don’t charge too much to rent out their space so I can still make a profit from the classes. Also, making sure I look after my voice as there’s lots of singing involved and it’s easy to lose your voice is you don’t take breaks and rest.

What’s your favourite part of running your own business?
Having the freedom to make decisions about what hours I want to work. It allows me to choose which sessions I want to teach myself and gives me flexibility to take holidays and arrange cover so the business can run when I have time off.

What’s the most rewarding part of being a Movers and Shakers franchisee?
Definitely seeing all the babies and toddlers’ faces enjoying the class, all the parents smiling and singing along to the songs and knowing it’s my job to entertain them all! It’s a great feeling when you have a couple of really fun sessions, it actually doesn’t feel like work when it’s so much fun. A bonus is coming home knowing you’ve made a good profit and being finished for the day before 3pm!

If you could give advice to someone starting out, what would it be?
Most importantly, you have to fall in love with the classes in order to really love this job. Then it will all be worth it and you’ll have the most rewarding job in the world. Save as much as you can before you start so you can enjoy the first six months without too much pressure on yourself to earn too much, that way you can focus on making your classes really good and popular. After all, word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Also spend time finding secure venues that will be the perfect location for classes – this is not always easy, but once you find the right venue it’s really rewarding. Be prepared to run some free taster sessions/small classes to get the word out there. Once people find out about your Movers and Shakers classes, they will quickly realise how brilliant it is for their children!
If you were to do it all over again would you choose the same business and the same franchisor?
Absolutely – I have loved every minute! It’s tiring some days but always rewarding and fun. I always feel like I’ve accomplished something to be proud of when parents are so grateful that I have entertained their little ones at classes and birthday parties. Movers and Shakers is a brilliant concept, and Gabi has supported me throughout the process 100% – so no regrets at all.

If you would like to find out more about matching Erica’s success story in your own area, please contact us for more information.

Dream Career

It’s Monday morning – argh! You have a very short window in which to feed your kids their breakfast, get them into the car and to the childminder, grab a croissant for breakfast, hop on the tube (and spend the 30-minute journey cramped between two people), get to work and spend the day in the office wishing you could work from home, do something you love and spend more time with your children!

But wait, there is another option – a new career that lets you…

  • set your own hours
  • run your own business
  • work during the day and spend the afternoons with your kids
  • feel fulfilled and bring in a rewarding income for your family.

What is this magical job? It’s owning and running a Movers and Shakers franchise!


There are so many benefits to our winning formula:

  1. You can work for yourself. Say goodbye to bad boss days.
  2. You will have our team on hand to deal with the difficult aspects of starting a business – allowing you to hit the ground running on Day 1.
  3. You will have fun running a Movers and Shakers franchise. Seeing children’s delighted faces every day is a recipe for fulfilment.
  4. You will be able to put the full range of your skills to use, from singing and teaching to planning and marketing.
  5. You will have our full support. Our package includes all the materials and equipment you need to provide Movers and Shakers classes, as well as high level creative and business training.
  6. You will be able to draw on our fabulous market base. There are always mums looking for great classes to bring their babies and toddlers to, and Movers and Shakers is rated highly and well loved for its easy booking system, low cost and amazingly fun and interactive classes.

If you want to find out more about this exciting opportunity, please don’t hesitate to send us an email.

A New Facilitator

Recently we had to say goodbye to Grainne, a wonderful and highly valued member of our team of Movers and Shakers facilitators. Although we were very sad to see her go, we were also incredibly happy that she has found her vocation, partly as a result of her work with us – she has gone to train as a primary school teacher, and I know she will be utterly amazing. As soon as I find out which school she’s going to teach at I’ll let you all know so you can arrange to move house somewhere near and enrol your children!

Anyway, as a result of this I’ve been busy training up a new facilitator, Abi. And it’s made me think about things afresh, and what exactly I look for and how to best convey this to someone new.

Abi is a great facilitator. She is friendly, enthusiastic, warm-hearted, hard-working and has a really gorgeous singing voice. She has trained so hard, arranging extra sessions with other facilitators, watching numerous classes, practising at home with friends – and now she has been released into the wilds of Highgate.

All through her training, Abi has been determined to get the script right, the lyrics accurate and everything in the right order. And obviously this is important, but one of the main things that I’ve tried to impart is that actually this isn’t what matters most. When I was watching her train, I didn’t care too much if she made a mistake and had to start a song again or if I had to remind her that the rhythm song usually comes after the Music Maker song rather than before! What matters to me, and I think to the parents and carers and children who come to the classes… is the ENERGY that a facilitator gives off. Everyone is there to have fun, sing, laugh, learn some new songs/rhymes/signs and… relax a bit. No-one wants to feel judged, no-one wants their child to be judged, no-one wants to feel sorry for a stressed out facilitator.

Another thing: I know it’s really difficult to say goodbye to someone you have formed a relationship with, and who your child has formed a relationship with. It’s difficult to start again with someone new. Every member of our team has their own way of doing things and their own style. I encourage all my wonderful Movers and Shakers facilitators to express their personality throughout the class. This is one of the reasons that I’ve decided not to have a ‘uniform’. It might take time to get used to someone new, but I can guarantee that every member of my team has been really carefully chosen, and meticulously trained to deliver a class that is not only slick and professional, but a pleasure to attend.

We all get things wrong from time to time (anyone who came to my class yesterday at Project Me can tell you about me messing up the Hello Song when my iPod decided to leap from the shelf!) but it’s these things that make us human, and it’s how we react to these little hiccups that is important. Do we get stressed, or do we laugh at ourselves and start again?

Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you love about Movers and Shakers, and whether you think that what I’ve described above is genuinely embodied in our classes. I’d love to hear about what is important to you when deciding which group to attend and (of course!) where we can make improvements.

Gabi x

Movers and Shakers Shortlisted for Award

We are delighted to announce that Movers and Shakers has been shortlisted for a Loved by Parents Award. We have a chance of being named Best Baby/Toddler Group 2014!

Winning this award would mean a great deal to us at Movers and Shakers. Could we possibly ask you to take a few minutes to show your appreciation for us by visiting the Loved by Parents website and voting for Movers and Shakers? We will be grateful for every vote we receive. As we are one of only five groups on the shortlist, we have a real chance of scooping the top prize.

The voting form is at this page on the Loved by Parents website.

There are only five steps to placing your vote:

  1. Enter your full name
  2. Enter your email address
  3. Choose “Special Awards” from the drop-down list of categories
  4. Type “Best Baby/Toddler Group” in the category name box
  5. Type “Movers and Shakers” in the company name box.

Finally (unless you want to vote in other categories) scroll down to the bottom of the form to submit your vote.

Voting closes at midnight on the 29th of June. It would be simply lovely if we could start July by announcing that Movers and Shakers had won a Loved by Parents Gold Award!

Movers and Shakers really is loved by parents. We keep our prices low and offer flexible class-by-class booking. Our discounted six-session loyalty cards can be used at any class at any time within your home area. Our online booking system is easy to use and guarantees your child a place at the class of your choice.

We know that babies and young children instinctively like to play and explore; at Movers and Shakers we give every child the opportunity to sing along, play a musical instrument, explore the parachute and get lost in a world of bubbles. Sessions take place at libraries, social clubs, cafés and other family-friendly venues.

Loved by Parents is a family-focused online parenting magazine offering features, reviews, recipes and advice on all things loved by parents. Here’s where you can find the full list of nominees for the awards.

Movers and Shakers Franchises

As many of you know, we have now started the process of franchising Movers and Shakers. It’s a complicated step for any business, so to make sure we got it absolutely right, we worked closely with a Franchise Consultant.

We are confident that we are offering a brilliant opportunity for a creative person with a good business brain. Our first franchise is up and running and doing even better than expected.

There are countless franchises out there. The latest trend is to market them at women, particularly at mothers. We belong to the generation of women who were promised the world! We were told we could be businesswomen AND have our own families. When we grew up, we realised that it wasn’t quite as simple as that. There are so many compromises that have to made. Buying the franchise for a successful company is one way of owning and running a business while fitting your working life around the school day or other childcare arrangements.

The decision to acquire a franchise should not be taken lightly, and we really recommend that you get in touch with companies like and, who will give good advice on all aspects of franchising.

There are plenty of franchises on offer for baby and toddler groups; party companies; music, dance, gymnastics and sports classes; educational groups; you name it! If you are interested in going down the franchise route, we’d love you to consider a Movers and Shakers franchise. We are at the beginning of our journey, and we’re looking for an amazing team of franchisees to build up a national brand and identity.

We were recently featured on the Mums in Franchise website – you can read more by following this link.

And if you’d like to register your interest in a Movers and Shakers Franchise, please visit the Franchise Opportunity page on our website.

Top Party Tips

We’ve been running birthday parties for tots for nearly 5 years now, and I’ve picked up a few good ideas to make sure things run smoothly.

I think it’s nice to mark a child’s first birthday in some way – you made it through the first year! A family tea party is a nice idea with a couple of friends from a post-natal group. You can sing some songs and let the children play with a few toys.

However, some families like to make it a bigger event and invite a few more people, either to their home or to a hired space. With young children (1–2 years old) you don’t want too much structured entertainment because they have a limited concentration span. I would say 30 to 45 minutes is plenty, and it should be geared to the age of the birthday child. No point in having a magic show or a disco for a 1-year-old and his friends! If you go to a regular dance, music or gym class with your baby then you can always ask the class leader if they would come and do a special session to celebrate your child’s birthday.

For a Movers and Shakers party, we find out your child’s favourite songs or characters and build a party theme around them. For example, if a child’s favourite song is Old Macdonald, but she also loves Peppa Pig, then we might bring a big cuddly Peppa Pig to the party, and then go to Old Macdonald’s farm with her and meet all her friends: Baa Baa Black Sheep, Horsey Horsey and the Five Little Piggies! 

We also understand that children this age want to join in rather than just watch and listen, so we make sure every child has their own instrument to shake and bang along in time with the songs. We also play parachute games and have lots of fun popping bubbles.

Fun and games on the Movers and Shakers parachute

Fun and games on the Movers and Shakers parachute

At this age parents need to support their children and help them join in the fun. And then after half an hour or so, the children will be ready for some food, or a bit of free play with some toys. This is a great chance for the adults to socialise and chat.

If you know that there are lots of grown-ups at the party who won’t want to join in the children’s entertainment, it might be a great idea to have them in a separate room. I sometimes hear back from party leaders that they were worried the children weren’t able to hear their singing because there was so much background noise from the adults!

It can be hard to ask everyone to keep quiet, but our party leaders do it very politely (and ask permission from the party organiser first!) as we want to make sure the birthday boy or girl has the best party ever.

Another thing to avoid, particularly with slightly older children, is having lots of food and balloons everywhere. Children of 2 or 3 years old are easily distracted, no matter how wonderful the entertainment is, so my advice would be to hide the food and balloons away and then get them out when required.

If anyone has any top tips for parties for 1–3 year olds then please leave a comment below.