The think tank 'CentreForum" have created a list of five daily
essentials for child development. The initiative would aim to
overhaul society's attitudes towards parenting in a similar way to
the change in how drink-driving has been seen over the past 50
Under the proposal, each day parents should be encouraged to do the
following five tasks:
1. Read to their youngsters for 15 minutes
2. Talk to them for 20 minutes while the television is turned off.
3. Adopt positive attitudes to your children and praise them
4. Play with them on the floor for ten minutes
5. Provide a nutritious diet to aid their development.
Companies that make toys, children's books and baby food would be
encouraged to brand their products with an official logo under the
proposed scheme, which is modelled on the successful "five-a-day"
fruit and vegetables dietary campaign.
Further recommendations of the scheme are that an additional child
benefit supplement is given to the poorest 20 per cent of the
population, as long as they attend parenting classes. This is to
encourage take-up of the parenting classes offered as part of the
Research has found that the quality of parenting and educational
influences in the early months and years of a child's life have an
overwhelming influence on their later progress at school and
careers. Typically, children from the poorest families are exposed
read books with their parents and eat poorer diets than their
peers in wealthier homes. The result can be that children from
deprived homes fail to master essential literacy skills and become
mentally and physically unhealthy.
The children's minister, Sarah Teather, warmly welcomed the
proposals, whilst critics have branded the recommendations from the
CentreForum 'ridiculous' and another example of 'nanny state
meddling'. Tory MP Philip Davies said: 'It's ridiculous. Anyone
would think we have money to burn in this country. It's another
well-meaning, but ill-thought-out, hare-brained scheme.'
So what do you think about the proposed scheme? And is your child
getting their five-a-day from you? Let us know what you think in
our chat forum.