Government announces free parenting classes

Free parenting classes for all parents of young children and a new digital service for parents to be and new parents were launched today by the Prime Minister.

Free parenting classes for all parents of young children and a new digital service for parents to be and new parents were launched today by the Prime Minister.

David Cameron outlined plans for a new digital service for parents-to-be and new parents, providing regular emails and texts with timely information as their pregnancy develops and their child grows; free parenting classes for parents of children who are five and under in three trial areas [Camden, Middlesborough and High Peak, Derbyshire]; and relationship support for first-time parents in four trial areas from this summer [York, Leeds, north Essex and some London boroughs].  Critics say the parenting classes suggest the Government is acting like a nanny state, but the Government says a recent survey suggests that 85% of parents want more practical help on caring for their baby to provide the best possible start for their children.

Cameron said: “Parents are nation-builders. It’s through love and sheer hard work that we raise the next generation with the right values. That’s why this Government is doing everything possible to support parents.

“We’re doing the big, long-term things to make this country stronger for our children – dealing with our debts; having a massive push for better schools; working to create more good, skilled jobs in our economy

“But we’re also focussed on making life easier for parents day-to-day, from extending childcare to increasing the number of health visitors. The parenting classes and films we’re launching this week are an important part of that, providing clear, professionally-led advice on everything from teething to tantrums.”
 
From today, the NHS Information Service for Parents will give parents advice on issues related to staying healthy in pregnancy, preparing for birth and looking after their baby.  This includes links to specially commissioned videos showing midwives demonstrating practical advice such as bathing your baby and parents discussing issues that affected them and how they supported each other.

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the new service: “We warmly welcome this innovative online and multi-media service for parents. We hope that the email and text alerts will bolster the work that midwives do with women and their families by providing additional information that will empower and signpost parents to further appropriate sources of support and help.

“We know that pregnancy and maternity care are in many cases the first time most parents will interact with the health service and this presents a unique opportunity to provide health promoting messages to families. This is why good quality information, which this service promotes, during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period can have a significant long-term impact on the health and well-being of mothers and babies.”





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