This article was originally on GET.com at: 4 things that could make life easier for Singapore families
We all know that the government has been trying to step up its game of encouraging Singaporeans to marry early and have more babies. But the hard truth is that starting a family in Singapore isn't necessarily the easiest thing to do. There are the obvious high monetary costs of having a wedding as well as high costs of having a baby which can lead to a poor work-life balance as you struggle to work harder than ever to hold on tight to your rice bowl, especially in times of the gloomy economic outlook that we're currently embroiled in. For those who haven't heard, these are the 13 jobs whose earnings have taken a hit.
An interesting news article recently revealed how helping families to afford cars may potentially raise our atrocious fertility rate. Consider our interest piqued, so here are 4 things we at GET.com reckon could help make life easier for families in Singapore. And yes, we concur that having little ones in tow necessitates the ownership of cars just because it makes things a whole lot easier for the family.
4 Things That Could Help Make Life Easier For Families In Singapore
1. Allocate MRT Cabins To Parents With Young Kids In Tow
As you probably already know, our MRTs are usually packed to the brim during peak hours. I'm petite and I still have trouble squeezing into the crowded train every single morning, so what does that make of parents with humongous prams and their bawling little ones who need to get to wherever that may be in time, just like the rest of us?
Well, if countries like Taiwan and Japan can implement women-only cabins on their public trains, perhaps Singapore could emulate the concept and allocate cabins to parents with young kids. That should probably shave the number of disdainful stares these parents face every morning, too.
2. Help Families Afford Cars
I don't know about you but I grew up in a family where my dad drove and still drives. With dad driving, we can get to Gramps' place in around 15 minutes instead of a long bus ride that would take 50. Those with babies would know how difficult it is to bring all the baby supplies and prams out just to get to places via public transport. Need I say more on that note regarding weekly grocery shopping trips?
Not only does driving make it more convenient to get to places, a car inherently is a great space for families to bond. Although sometimes you'll have to contend with argues and debates on anything and everything under the sun.
In light of the government's aim in making Singapore go car-lite in the near future, enabling families to have access to cars more easily may not be at the top of their list. After all, this counter-intuitive move shatters their long-time gripe with car ownership in Singapore by slapping drivers with "extra" costs like COE, ERP, road tax, fuel taxes and so on.
3. Embrace Inter-Generational Bonding
Most parents work mega long hours these days and as a result, kiss goodbye to a healthy work-life balance. When parents are consumed with clocking hours behind their desks at work, who else is there to watch your little ones but grandparents who are retired or semi-retired?
Getting a domestic helper sounds great but then you'll have to shell out even more money and make more space in your home so this obviously is not an option for everyone.
Consider getting (and convincing) your parents to take care of your kids when you and your spouse are out making money. The times they spend together will be a meaningful and invaluable one that money can never replace, ever.
4. Function On Flexi-Work Arrangements
If both parents are working, perhaps it'll do your family good that either one or both parents take on jobs with flexible work arrangements whenever possible.
In the words of the Ministry of Manpower, the "Work-Life Grant provides funding and incentives for companies to offer flexible work arrangements (FWAs) for employees. The aim is to help employees better manage work and family responsibilities, and enhance the pro-family environment in Singapore".
So, if your job allows you to go down this route, why not consider such an arrangement in a bid to spend more time with your family? An earlier news report in January 2016 shed light that more companies are providing flexi-work arrangements for moms who work.
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