Sunday, 7 August 2011

Five a day takes on a new meaning.

The Nanny State is at it again. Not content with telling us how much fruit and veg we should feed our kids, now it is how we interact with our kids that is being drawn up as a set of government guidelines.

While there is always a section of society that need help raising their kids, and that section usually doesn't know enough or do enough to nurture their kids efficiently, publishing these guidelines will not make a blind bit of difference.

But let's look at what has been proposed. This is not just an information leaflet on how to bring up kids but a scheme that will involve retailers, publishers, food producers. Those drawn into the scheme will carry an official logo telling the consumer that this X has been approved by the government.

Most of the reiteration of this is aimed at 'poorer' parents but I think they're missing the point. It really doesn't matter how much money you have, but the quality of education you yourself possess. As everything with the Tory viewpoint, it;s those poor people who need the most help. I know plenty wealthy people who cant be arsed to do any of this with their kids, as I know quite a lot of working class parents who do this and more with their kids. The most ridiculous measure I've read is that the government need to 'incentivise' this campaign, proposing higher child benefit payments, for those who attend parenting courses. The shameful thing is that this might actually work, or at the very least get their statistics published providing an attendance record, whether or not it has any long lasting effects.

Now, I won't hold back here but the problem with shitty parents in this day and age isn't money. It is simply that apathetic, lazy, ill-educated people are having kids because they are not told that there is anything else for them to do. They have no aspirations, nor are they shown anything realistic to aspire to. Victoria Beckham and her man are role models. Young girls are idolising Cheryl Cole and this is what affects society. Yes, money matters and it gives kids access to facilities, activities but there are always ways around this. I've been skint and bringing up kids and all it meant is that I put MORE effort into raising them, making sure they were stimulated, happy and loved.

The measures are fairly common sense rules, that most people do and can do to some degree within the confines of their environment, budget and routine.

1. Read to your child for 15 minutes

Children’s brains learn language much more easily in the early years and exposure to as many different words as possible builds vocabulary.

2. Play with your child on the floor for 10 minutes

Infants typically “reach out” for interaction through babbling and gestures. Parents should encourage this by playing at their physical level – on the floor.

3. Talk with your child for 20 minutes with the television off.

Children from the poorest backgrounds typically hear far fewer words spoken each day than those in wealthier homes. By switching off the TV and talking, parents can improve children’s verbal and literacy skills and prepare them for school.

4. Adopt positive attitudes towards your child and praise them frequently

There is “significant evidence” that more “positive parenting” can help reduce children’s “toxic stress levels” and strengthen parent-child bonds but children in the poorest homes are far less likely to be praised.

5. Give your child a nutritious diet to aid development

This is where the “five a day” campaign for parenting meets the fruit and vegetable eating drive. A good diet helps the brain develop, while breast feeding babies is widely seen as positive.

What do you think about this Five A Day?


  1. My first reaction s to say - do people really need to be told this? But then again I know a few who def. don't do the things on this list.

  2. Is that really true? I find it unbelievably patronising. And will it work? I got nearly £200 to spend on 'healthy eating' during my last pregnancy. Very nice it was too. But a complete waste of money because you either eat healthily or you don't and an extra wodge of cash can't change your ways.


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