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Exclusive: Peter Andre admits he 'doesn't sleep' worrying about son Junior

The father-of-four is married to wife Emily Andre

Peter Andre is every inch the doting dad, made evident from his public adoration for his four children Junior, 16, Princess, 14, Amelia, seven and little Theo, four. In an exclusive interview with HELLO!, Peter revealed how he handled a "bittersweet lockdown" while wife Emily Andre was on the NHS frontline, and how he's teaching Junior and Princess to ignore online trolls.

SEE: Inside Peter Andre's two beautiful homes in Surrey and Cyprus

After working on a campaign with Habitat Kids that encourages parents to spend more time with their children, Peter discussed how quality family time is achieved in the Andre household. 

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WATCH: Peter Andre reveals how son Theo is taking after him in sweet video

"Millie sometimes says to me: 'Dad you're on your phone,' and I don't realise it, because it's such a normal part of our routine to be on our phones", explained Peter. "Even though she's younger, she knows if I'm not paying attention.

MORE: Peter and Emily Andre's romantic wedding was so regal - photos

READ: Peter Andre's son tells fans he doesn't 'want to die' as he details health battle

"I think it's incredibly important to give your children your undivided attention for your children's self-worth, for them to feel close to their family and for them to feel safe – because they feel that you're present and channelled into them."

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Peter shares an incredibly close relationship with his children

New research from Habitat Kids showed that 20 per cent of parents report only being able to play with their kids for less than two hours a week, with work being the top reason they don’t, followed by kids preferring screen time, or wanting to play with siblings and friends over parents. Read our Q&A with Peter below...

How was lockdown for you as a family?

"As a family, lockdown was a bittersweet situation. Emily was right on the frontline during that first lockdown before PPE was introduced. I remember her calling me one day and explaining that someone had walked in coughing, so she was going to self isolate for three days. Three days later she got so sick, and everyone in that room ended up getting COVID. So at that time I had the whole family at home, I was cooking for everyone, I was parenting, I was cleaning, I was the chef, I was doing all of it, but I loved it!

"I really felt for people during that first lockdown that didn't have a garden. It was so easy for people to say "stay at home", but if you didn't have outdoor space I can't even imagine how difficult that would have been. Luckily, the weather was incredible and we were able to make the most of it together. I say to my kids we'll never forget the summer of 2020.

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Peter described lockdown as "bittersweet" with wife Emily on the frontline

"The second and third lockdown were much harder. It was cold, dark, it was depressing for the kids. Homeschooling whilst being on their screens for hours and hours with no daylight was not fun for them at all.

"Plus, I then got COVID which was tough. It was a difficult time for the kids too not knowing if they would be taking their GCSE's. It was so confusing for them, but for me, as a parent, I got so incredibly close with them. Little Theo especially."

Do you find it harder connecting with Princess and Junior now they're older and on social media?

"One of the things Emily and I are adamant about is no phones at the dinner table. That time is when we sit and talk as a family. We talk about anything – it could be about what Millie did at school that day, or what Princess has got coming up, but it's that quality time that is so important to us.

READ: Peter Andre's wife Emily melts hearts as she reveals son Theo's sweet 'first'

MORE: Peter Andre thrills fans with heartwarming video of 'supportive' son Junior

"We also have a one screen rule which is a brilliant way to stay connected with your family. If we're watching a film, nobody else is allowed their phone. It doesn't always work admittedly, but it does mean if you're all watching something then you can enjoy it together. It encourages us to laugh and talk together.

Do you think your children being on social media makes you more protective of them? Especially Princess?

"I have joked in the past that I would never let Princess go on Love Island. I think it's just the image of your daughter being all grown up – it scares me! I've told her she can go on it, but only to present it. Or she can go on it if it's only nuns and priests involved!

"I worry about the kids a lot. Junior got his moped recently - every night I can't sleep until he's home. I just cannot sleep. It doesn't matter where I am. I cannot sleep until I know he's safe. That's just the worry of a parent.

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The star explained his concerns for his teenage daughter facing online trolls

"What really concerns me about Princess and Junior being on social media is the comments. I made Princess turn off her comments for a whole year. I don't think comments should be allowed on anything.

"I tried to show the kids an example of people who are loved, like Prince William or David Beckham, to prove to them that even people like them get attacked online. It doesn't matter what you do, trolls will find a way to say something bad about you – and that does worry me as a parent.

"One of the main things I try to teach them is not to read comments, or to just turn them off completely. You can't censor everything in life, but in my honest opinion, I think comments should be banned. It would make such a big difference because then you would just read, and talk amongst your family about things that concern you instead of leaving it online for the person it's about to analyse."

Peter Andre is working with Habitat to launch its first ever year-round kids’ collection, available now at Argos, Habitat.co.uk and Sainsbury’s.


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