How to increase Singapore's birth rates
How to increase Singapore's birth rates? Here are some real and useful suggestions from Singaporean mums. Read on to know.
The number is so worrying that heads of our island State recently rolled out a number of pro natal measures to combat this worrying trend.
The new baby bonus now includes a four-month maternity leave, a $4,000 cash gift and $6,000 government grant. But is that enough?
Unfortunately, for most, the answer was a resounding NO! So what would entice Singaporean parents to have more kids?
With that question in mind, we send our journalist Katherine Tan, to the streets to talk to readers. This is what they had to say!
1) The government needs to do more. First, reduce the levy for maids according to how many kids you have. If you have more than four children you should not even have to pay for levy, period. –Rani Kaur, 31
2) Increase days off for sick children leave. It should be at least one week for each parent. When kids fall sick, they aren't just sick for one or two days. They fall ill for nearly a week! – Sumita Menon, 29
3) The fact remains that when resources are scarce, and when they don't have much help, women will postpone motherhood. In Singapore, we need to make sure it is affordable to have a child and make sure that our domestic helps are quality and not just quantity. We need to make sure the maids we import in are capable of handling children, so we are comfortable to leave our kids with the maid. – Siti Haslinah, 35
1) Offer two weeks heavily subsidized camps for kids above three years. That way parents are “free” to even consider procreating. Otherwise we are so bogged down with our first child; we can’t even begin to consider the prospects of expanding our brood. - Lina Lau, 26
2) One reason that I don’t want children is that I am a career woman. I am not the sort to quit my job if I have kids, and yet I don’t want to leave my child with a maid. So schools should increase their hours to match with work days. Schools shouldn’t start at 7 am, but at 8.30 and it should not end at 2 but at 6. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be provided at school (either through the canteen or lunch box), as well as a nap time. So when we come home, we will not be bogged down with homework and feeding the kids, but we can spend quality time. – Tan Li Fern, 30
3) It all boils down to one simple word. SEX. As the Durex survey suggested, we aren’t having enough sex. Singaporeans are still close-minded about having sex. The parliament should start a campaign to make it fashionable to have sex. – Simon Lin, 32
Culture and environment
1) We need to start educating our children about having children. Not just should we offer design and technology and home economics in school, we should have a handling a baby class. A lot of us, men, are terrified of babies, because we have never been around them. If we are exposed to babies from a young age, it wouldn’t be so foreign when we finally have one! – Prem Gohel, 37
2) Make Singapore more baby friendly. Build more nursing rooms in shopping centres and playgrounds for kids to play at. Offer baby-sitting services at restaurants and gyms. - Dominic sun, 22
3) We should have a scheme where the more children you have, you are entitled to upgrade your HDB to a bigger flat or to a condo. E.g. Only 1 child, can only buy 3 room flat. With 2 children, you can buy 3 or 4 room flat and so on. Couples with no children are not entitled to buy anything more than a 3 room flat. – Kalvin Tam, 38
4) Let working mothers bring their kids to work (provide childcare services for working mother) so we can be with our kids during lunch time. – Monica Lim, 26
5) There should be more home-based jobs for mothers, so we can work from home and at the same time take care of our kids. – Iris Sim, 29
6) The government should enforce a regulation to enforce company to hire mothers as part-timers so that they can be with the child. – Nita Rao, 34
1) Increase maternity leave. Four months is not long enough. We should be like Sweden, where all working parents are entitled to 18 months' paid leave per child. – Roshni Shah, 25
2) Give daddy longer paternity leave, so he can help with tending to the baby. – Bai Ling, 27
3) While an icreased baby bonus is appreciated, we should get equally for 1st, 2nd, 3rd baby and so on. It takes the same amount of effort to raise each child! – Sandra Tan, 28
1) Education and childcare should be free-of-charge up till University level. – Rishi Maniam, 39
2) Children should get free health care up to age 21. – Terence Oh, 36
3) Parents in Singapore pay a lot for basic necessities like milk powder and diapers. We should receive vouchers to redeem them for a subsidised rate. – Tejwinder Singh, 33
What are your thoughts? How can we increase our birth rates? Share them below!