Suggestions to increase Singapore's birth rate

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What should the Singapore Government do to increase birth rates?

We Singaporeans are not replacing ourselves! Baby bonus doesn't seem to be working - our campaigns have fallen flat - our birthrates are a paltry all time low (we haven't been replacing our population since 1975!) - it's really no wonder that everyone's knickers are in a twist.

So why aren't Singaporeans procreating and what do we have to do to tempt them to do the boogey woogey in bed and create some adorable offsprings.

We pose this question on Facebook, and here are some of the replies we got:

Lower cost of living

Nurhayati Bte Mohamad: More affordable living costs.. I'd love to have more kids, but the high living costs here means that both my husband and I have to work and with the very limited options on who is going to look after my kids (my mom-in-law is looking after my 2 year old boy now, but once I have another one means i have to start looking for other options), i am shelving that desire until we figure out what to do!

Cynthia Tay: Have more affordable infant care and child care centres. more benefits for working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Mary.m Shysta: Cheaper everything so parents can afford it. personally my spouse and I would not want to have more kids if both of us have to slave away at work most of the time. Little quality time with 1 child is a million times better than having to divide little time with many children.

Dorcas Yhj: More benefits for sahm. I am a sahm with two kids who will be turning 1 and 4 respectively. My hb and myself don't mind having more kids but problem us everything in sg in getting higher and expensive except for the salaries. And seems like gov are encouraging mums to go out to works by allowing ftwm with more subsidies in childcare ( no offence to... See more those ftwm ) while those single income families will have to pay more, when the single working salary is already not enough to cover everything in term of needs and bills, let allow to save up and plan for more kids.

Ping Yeo: IVF is too costly for those who cant conceive naturally. its may takes many tries to be successful. beside e painful process and the disappointment and the heavy finanicial cost. So at least sponsor it. help those Singaporean who are mentally prepared to have kids but financially not able to afford the IVF. Our Govt alwys look at the income to ... determine whether an individual or a couple is financially good enough to buy house, eligible to apply for certain grant. Take that clause away, becos e bigger flat u own the bigger tax and mortgage to pay and commitment are higher so still equally poor and in need of the subsidy or sponsorship. So, without help cant fork out the few ten thousand so no baby in the first place, whatever subsidy in child care or such and such wont apply to this group of unfortunate couples.

Andrea Toh: To pay mothers to work from home as housewives. It is more stressful then office work and no MC days provided. The payout should be based on means test and whether there is a domestic helper at home. I feel in Spore, we can have more children as we are able to employ stay at home help, unlike foreign countries where Mum's handle everything at home on their own. The biggest problem most parents face is time for kids due to work commitments to put food on the table.

Educate employers

Karen Lai: Companies shld not be bias on employing pregnant women...n the gov shld change the policy again to state tat as long as a woman is pregnant, the company that terminal her shld pay up the 4mths maternity leave instead of the current one that states it's only liable if it's 6mths form due date!

Joy Bea Lee: Encourage companies to let women work from home ! a change of mindset from the work force is very very very much needed for families to want to have more children ! More children = more money needed, esp in the country like Spore. the way we're going, both families and the country is on the losing end ! Its only when the companies do their part ... that things will improve. Stay home mom wants to stay home to take good care of kids and they also want to stay economically productive ! there lies the issues !~ Who's gonna take care of the kids, nurture them, giving them a good solid foundations if all moms go out to work ?
Our government needs to have a drastic shift in the mindset ! Put yourself in the shoes of the educated traditional mums ! And it will leads you to the very answers to all the problems !

Create a better support structure

Pearline Foo: I think it's the whole environment. Parenting includes spending time with the children. Employment wise I think each side will have their own stories. In Singapore there is little support structure since the smaller housing equals no extended help and help when the baby is small is not just expensive, but it is also a mother's natural instinct to ...

Sri Rahayu: I am an early childhood educator...the government is sending us educators to attend courses to provide better quality in terms of childcare services and education but they forgot we are mothers too!! We become better teachers to other people's children and we have to send our very own children to be cared for by others.The point here is, having ... children is not just sending them away to be taken care of by others.The bonding between mum/dad and child is very important but yet this is often cast aside as in Singapore, our career takes utmost importance as $$ is crucial to sustain our living.The cost of living is extremely high,and it is only natural that both parents have to go out to work. Are we going to end up to be a society that give birth to children and end up sending them to be taken care of by others?I am guilty of it too...we should seriously consider the impact on children too....

Others

Cheryl Chung:

1) Offer more paternity leave so that the mother is not left at home alone with the child immediately after birth
2) More incentives to encourage employers to give equal opportunities to pregnant staff
3) Pay stay home mothers the same amount (or at least close to) if they decide to stay at home to look after their children, especially having more than one child
4) Offer bigger subsidies for childcare if both parents have to work to make ends meet
5) More cash give out (i.e baby bonus) $4000 or more is spent on medical even BEFORE the baby is born...
6) Offer incenties, or even provide monetary subsidy and assistance to companies to make the work place more child friendly (eg play room in corner of ofice) so that parents can bring their children and maid to the work place so that can keep an eye on the maid and still be able to work with an ease of mind knowing that their child is still safe even with the maid as they are just round the corner)

Terence Quick Yap: Well, birthrates started to drop all over the world, when the ladies started to work.... just think back to your grandma's time.... but then, there was mom at home spending quality time with the kids, dad has the authority, cause he brings home the money, mom is fully in charge of the home... Now, think about why we need so many people in the world... More people means more industries, means more pollution and waste... it also means more homes, more garbage.... lesser cars, lesser or no jams.... you get what i mean... In conclusion, if you cannot get the ladies out of the workforce, why don't we have a smaller population.

Mohamed Meeranudeen: SAHM are actually doing their PHd in Child Psychology and an MA in Management. They should be recognised and given research grant for their "research".

theAsianparent Editor: Some zany/funny/innovative suggestions we received via mail:
1) Poke holes in all the condoms
2) Ban married people from buying condoms
3) Only allow married couples with kids to buy a five room flat..
4) If you get pregnant within one month of getting married, the couple should receive a $10,000 one time bonus as a congratulatory gift form the government
5) Married couples who aren't pregnant within two years of getting married, must meet with a marriage counsellor/sex therapist.

What do you guys think? How else can we increase our population size? Write your thoughts in the comment box below!