Parents should follow a ‘five-step plan’

The Government should consider a five-step parenting campaign and look into setting up parenting groups which start from the ante-natal stage and continue through children’s early years, according to a report from the CentreForum think tank.

The report says the early years are crucial in the development of children and parents play a key role so more needs to be done to support parents to help their children’s development. The five-step plan includes healthy nutrition, reading to your child for 15 minutes daily and talking to them for 20 minutes a day without the tv on.

The think tank says the Government should particularly look at ensuring those on lower incomes are included in the initiatives, but advises that the campaign should be universal, given that all parents can learn from it.

The paper says: “In a context where parenting remains generally viewed as an intensely private matter, this paper has argued that what is required is a significant attitudinal shift (akin to those involving seat belt wearing and drink driving) towards recognising that parenting is something that has a societal aspect and importance and about which it is socially acceptable for people to seek advice, learn and improve.”

It says the five-step plan needs to be promoted as “a series of small, manageable steps based on easily graspable, tangible and readily packageable ‘hooks’ that would enable the key messages to take hold in
parents’ minds.

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