Tess Daly might just be the coolest mum in the world! The Strictly Come Dancing presenter has decided the best way to make sure she knows what her kids are getting up to online is to be there with them, doing it too. So rather than imposing bans and handling tantrums, the 49-year-old mum of two has become an expert gamer, learning to beat her daughters, Phoebe, 13, and eight-year-old Amber at their own online games - and she's loving every moment!
Tess recently took part in Vodafone's #FamilySquad bootcamp, which saw the Strictly presenter get a crash course in all things online from YouTube star Ali-A alongside actress Sally Phillips. "My youngest loves gaming and needed a playmate, so I jumped at the chance," Tess tells HELLO!. "It has opened up a whole new world for me. I can't say I’m going to be sitting down with my husband [Vernon Kay] to play Call of Duty, but give me Minecraft with my eight-year-old and I'm happy. If there’s one way of impressing my two daughters, it’s showing them the latest gaming tricks straight from Ali A. It’s great to access something they love and do it together. "
Tess spent time with Sally Phillips and YouTube star Ali-A
Like many parents, Tess and Vernon, 43, are careful not to let their children spend too long in virtual worlds. "We limit their screen time – we're responsible about that," says Tess, adding: "We don't have phones at the dinner table. If you're on your phone, you're not in the moment. And I'm a big believer that joy is in the moment."
Given her busy schedule, Tess works hard to juggle professional and family life. "For five months, my Saturday nights are busy with Strictly, but no matter what, we're always together on Sundays," says the Stockport-born star. "I never missed a Sunday lunch growing up and I've continued that tradition with my own family. Being northern, my girls are big Yorkshire pudding fans and they have gravy with everything."
Tess and Vernon have two daughters, Phoebe and Amber
And there's even more reason to be at home in Buckinghamshire thanks to two recent additions: Shetland ponies Honey and Willow. "I'm thrilled. It's a childhood dream come true for me – never mind the kids," says Tess. The new pets take the female quota in the house to five, but Tess says Vernon does have one male companion – of a sort. "Our chihuahua is the only other boy in the house… but Vernon wouldn't have it any other way. His eyes light up when he's with the girls."
An all-round advocate of girl power, Tess is inspiring her girls as they grow up. "I constantly point out examples of empowering women," she says. "I love showing them that women are unbeatable when we stand together."
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