PA to offer more activities and resources for parents

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was guest of honour, taking a group photo with the families who turned up for the event at Cheng San Community Club yesterday.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was guest of honour, taking a group photo with the families who turned up for the event at Cheng San Community Club yesterday.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was guest of honour, taking a group photo with the families who turned up for the event at Cheng San Community Club yesterday.
Mr Muhd Anafi, 45, and his son watching as Ms Li Hui Lian, 32, and her daughter have fun on a slide at the Embracing PArenthood Celebration @ Teck Ghee event. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Additional events and parenting information will be made available to meet rising demand

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.

About 100 families joined Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Embracing PArenthood Celebration @ Teck Ghee event yesterday. Some 250 babies were born to families in the ward last year, said Mr Lee, who is also the MP for the ward. He said the Peopl
PM Lee joins families in celebrating parenthood: About 100 families joined Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Embracing PArenthood Celebration @ Teck Ghee event yesterday. Some 250 babies were born to families in the ward last year, said Mr Lee, who is also the MP for the ward. He said the People's Association will introduce more programmes, activities and informational support for parents throughout the journey of raising their children.

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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2018, with the headline 'PA to offer more activities and resources for parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe