Benefits of Positive Touch on Infants

Infants have a very limited way of communication. The only way they know how to communicate is to cry when they need something, so it is important that infants are cared for in a proper way. The environment around the infant is very important when it comes to how they react and grow. Even though they may not be able to communicate very well, infants have a great sense and instinct and they can identify both positive and negative effects in the environment.

Importance of positive touch

Due to the heightened sense of the infants, positive touch such as stroking and cuddling and negative touch such as pinching, poking or tickling has two very different impacts on these infants. Studies have shown that there is more emotional and social growth in infants who have experienced more positive touch from the people around them. They cried less and smiled and vocalised more than the infants who experienced more of the negative touch. It is also seen that later in life, as adults, the children who experienced positive touch more than negative were much more stable and less violent compared to the others. Research shows links between negative touch and emotional and behavioural problems later in life.

Need for touch

Human infants are the only ones that are very dependent on their parents for at least the first few months of their lives. They have a primal need to be held close and cuddled. They need constant physical contact and come with the basic reflexes that are needed to hold on in every possible way. It can be in the form of holding on to the finger of the adult or forming an M with their legs to facilitate carrying on the hips or lying on the chest. They are also not able to do anything on their own so they depend on the parents for food and care. They are constantly excreting out waste matter at a high rate and thus need the parents or caregivers to change their diapers and clean them.

There are many working parents in Singapore who, after the initial few months, have to get back to work so they have to rely on preschools and other infant care centres in Singapore to give the required care to their child. These are reliable and excellent places that keep the needs of the infant first and make sure to take the best possible care of the infant.

Child Care Subsidies And Programmes

Singapore has a very good system to support women who wish to continue working after having a child. There is a plethora of Singapore infant care and child care centres that offer professional child care services on a full or half day basis. Trained nannies are also available for parents wishing for their child to be cared for at home.

The Ministry regulates and licences child care programmes through the Child Care Centres Act and Regulations. Here is a brief look at what measures the Singapore Government has adopted to support parents who intend to work after the birth of their child:

Child and Singapore Infant Care Centres:

As of May 2015, there were 393 infant care centres in Singapore, with 3769 children enrolled. The average monthly fee for full day care was $1445. By the end of 2016, the number of centres is expected to reach 450.

Infant care subsidies and schemes:

* Infant and child care centres tend to be expensive, with the average asking price $1445 per month for full day care. But, to ensure that these costs do not dissuade qualified parents from seeking job opportunities after a baby, Singapore offers subsidies to all parents, more amounts to middle and lower income households:

* Singaporean children enrolled in ECDA-recognised care centres are automatically eligible for a basic subsidy of upto $600 for infant care.

* Families with monthly household income of $7500 or below are eligible for an additional subsidy, with lower income families receiving more.

* A basic subsidy of $600/$300 for full day/half day care is given to Singapore citizen children whose mother/ single father works a minimum of 56 hours a month. Non-working mother/single father gets $150.

* Families with parents working minimum 56 hours, and family income of $7500 or under, are eligible for additional subsidy.

Children Development Co-Savings Scheme:

This is a co-savings scheme for children wherein the Government matches dollar for dollar contributions, up to a specified limit, the savings deposited by the parents in special accounts called CDA. These funds can be used for child development needs at Government approved institutions registered with the Ministry of Social and Family Welfare. Some of these uses are:

* Child care centre fees, kindergarten, special education schools and early intervention programmes.

* Assistive devices.

* Medical expenses at healthcare institutions.

* Eye-related products and services at optical shops.