Parenting advice delivered via emails and texts

Friday, 18 May 2012 10:28 AM

Parents-to-be and new mums and dads are to be given advice on how to care for their children by the government via emails and texts.

The NHS Information Service for Parents will give mums and dads advice they can trust by phone or via the computer, covering a wide range of issues related to staying healthy in pregnancy, preparing for birth and looking after their baby.

Those signing up to the service will receive relevant, timely NHS approved advice sent directly to their phones and inboxes. This includes links to specially commissioned videos showing midwives demonstrating practical advice such as bathing your baby and parents discussing issues that affected them and how they supported each other.

Free parenting classes for those with children under five are also being trialled in some parts of the country, along with relationship support sessions.

Prime Minister David Cameron, launching the service, said: “Parents are nation-builders. It’s through love and sheer hard work that we raise the next generation with the right values. That’s why this Government is doing everything possible to support parents.

“We’re doing the big, long-term things to make this country stronger for our children – dealing with our debts; having a massive push for better schools; working to create more good, skilled jobs in our economy.

“But we’re also focussed on making life easier for parents day-to-day, from extending childcare to increasing the number of health visitors. The parenting classes and films we’re launching this week are an important part of that, providing clear, professionally-led advice on everything from teething to tantrums.”

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the new service: “We warmly welcome this innovative online and multi-media service for parents. We hope that the email and text alerts will bolster the work that midwives do with women and their families by providing additional information that will empower and signpost parents to further appropriate sources of support and help.”

Free parenting classes are also being offered to parents in three trial areas –Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire and Camden in London.

Mums and dads will be able to use vouchers, available from Boots stores, children’s centres, health visitors and professionals who have contact with families to pay for the classes, while subsidised relationship support sessions will be trialled in York and Leeds, North Essex, Hackney and City of London, Islington and Westminster.

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