Online portal helps parents and caregivers take better care of young children

An initiative by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Baby Bonus Parenting Resources portal aims to equip users like parents and pre-schools with parenting and child development information.
An initiative by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Baby Bonus Parenting Resources portal aims to equip users like parents and pre-schools with parenting and child development information.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - When her youngest daughter suffered inflammation of the brain last year, Ms Geraldine Teo Swee Imm turned to an online portal to find out what else could be done apart from medical treatment.

Although doctors helped alleviate her daughter's condition, Ms Teo wanted to do her part to aid her child's recovery and development.

She surfed the Baby Bonus Parenting Resources portal to look for tips and help.

"The online portal helped me make sense of some of the things that I could do to help her. It helped me to figure out milestones to set for my child. For example, she had lost part of her muscle memory and needed to learn how to write her name again. The website helped in that," said the senior education development specialist.

Today, her five-year-old daughter is enrolled in a pre-school and is coping well.

Ms Teo, 42, is among a growing number of people using the portal, which celebrated its first anniversary on Thursday (March 14).

An initiative by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), the website aims to equip users like parents and pre-schools with parenting and child development information.

 

It provides localised, research-backed resource materials such as videos, articles and guides. Resources are categorised by the various stages of children, from birth to six years old.

The portal covers a wide range of topics such as pregnancy, behavioural management and tips on maintaining well-being as a parent or caregiver.

Last year, the most viewed articles were about how to respond to tantrums, encouraging good behaviour and toilet training. Advice to parents on how to deal with tantrums, for example, include not judging themselves as parents based on how many tantrums their children have thrown.

MSF said the portal has been well-received, with 142,000 visitors to its site and 52,000 followers on Facebook.

One of its users is The Little Skool-House International, which regularly incorporates information from the portal into activities for pre-schoolers such as storytelling.

At the pre-school on Thursday to celebrate the portal's anniversary, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said: "Complementing quality, accessible pre-school education, parental leave schemes and Baby Bonus benefits, the Baby Bonus Parenting Resources portal is our latest addition to strengthen the ecosystem of support for parents.

"Over the course of one year, we have seen many parents benefiting from the portal. We hope more parents will make use of the portal to pick up knowledge and skills to parent confidently and raise creative, happy, healthy children."

MSF has also partnered local and international experts to develop content and curate the portal, so that the materials are suitable for the local context and are backed by research.

Dr Shefaly Shorey, who is an assistant professor from the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies at the National University of Singapore, developed a series of how-to videos for first-time parents, covering topics such as local confinement practices and how to position babies in the cot.

She said: "Babies don't come with manuals, and many young parents I know wonder if they are doing what is best for their children or are unsure if resources online are credible."