As young parents of six children, Mr Muhd Shahrie Azme and Ms Nur Aslinda Sulaiman have a challenge every weekend: Finding affordable and fun ways to entertain their young ones, the youngest of whom is six months old.
The family regularly attends community events such as the Embracing PArenthood Celebration @ Teck Ghee which took place yesterday, organised by the People's Association (PA). They enjoy meeting other families, as well as the food, gifts and activities on offer.
"It is good to get out of the house once in a while," Mr Muhd Shahrie, 26, said. "It would be good if PA could organise subsidised mass family outings to places that are child-friendly. It would help us a lot to just be able to show up and let the kids enjoy a fun day out."
To meet rising demand from parents like Mr Muhd Shahrie, PA will progressively introduce more parenting programmes and activities, and provide more information on parenting, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced yesterday.
"How to look after them, what to feed them, how to handle them when they are fretful or colicky - so many steps and milestones along the way of bringing up a baby to a grown-up," said Mr Lee, who was guest of honour at the event.
"We hope to walk with you, and hope you will walk with us."
Mr Lee, who is also MP of the Teck Ghee ward in Ang Mo Kio GRC, noted that more than 250 babies - including six sets of twins - were born in Teck Ghee last year, a figure similar to previous years.
He presented prizes to photo competition winners, handed out lucky draw gifts and took pictures with the 100 families who attended the event.
The Embracing PArenthood movement began two years ago when a group of young parents in the Teck Ghee Park View estate started a WhatsApp chat group to exchange tips and information on parenting. The group expanded over time as members reached out to other residents of Teck Ghee through community events.
One of its founders, Mr Clay Chua, 30, is not even a parent yet, but plans to start a family with his wife soon. It has been useful for him to get a head start on learning about the parenting journey, he said.
"Everyone shares tips like what to do when a child has a fever or which childcare centres in the area have vacancies. If people have spare clothes that their kids have outgrown, they offer them to others, so it has really brought back the kampung spirit," he said.
Parent Christina Nai, 40, who runs her own accounting firm, appreciates PA's efforts.
Balancing work and caring for her three children - a six-year-old son and a pair of six-month-old twins, a boy and a girl - leaves her with little time to organise recreational activities for the family.
"It is also quite expensive to sign them up for classes. I have to think twice because now I have twins, so everything costs double," she said.
"So, I really appreciate it when PA organises kid-friendly activities like sing-along or dance programmes."