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Advice and Support for Parents

Financial Help

Parenting can be an extremely difficult job but help is out there. One of the most common parental concerns is having enough money to ensure their child has everything they need whilst still having money left over to pay for food, bills and rent or a mortgage. Having a child is undoubtedly costly but Government initiatives have been enforced to support parents financially. It is important to know your rights as a parent or guardian; those in employment are entitled to claim childcare benefits as well as working tax credits to supplement their income. In addition to this, all 3-4 year olds in the U.K have the right to claim 12 and a half hours of free childcare from a registered provider such as a school, nursery or pre-school for 38 weeks of the year. Childminders can also be used but must be part of a registered childminding organisation. Lone parents are entitled to additional financial support including credit for those in work and weekly income support payments.

Flexible Working Hours

In terms of logistics, parenting can be extremely difficult, especially if you have children at different ages. To address the issues raised by bringing up children and going to work, the Government has encouraged employers to allow employees with children more flexible working arrangements. Guidelines relating to this subject suggest that an employee who has worked for a company for more than 26 weeks is entitled to fill in a flexible working application form in order to be able to collect children from school, have time off when they are ill or have an appointment with the doctor or dentist, for example.

Parenting Skills

In terms of actual parenting skills, there are numerous websites and magazines devoted to sharing expert advice on raising children, as well as advice and tips from other parents. As part of a new Government programme, practical parenting classes will also be offered with the aim of ensuring children get a good start in life in addition to addressing wider societal concerns such as anti-social behaviour. To find the nearest classes to you simply call Parentline Plus. The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the BBC websites also have a wealth of information and guidance relating to bringing up a child, such as building relationships and helping your child adapt to new situations, as well as being able to recommend local organisations such as nurseries and childminders. If you are struggling, Parentline Plus has a 24 hour phone line where you can discuss your problems; this organisation also offers help via parent telephone groups and support via email.