|A family of H'Mông ethnic minority in northern Sơn La Province. Improving parenting knowledge and skills is a key pillar to ensure the comprehensive development of children. VNS Photo Việt Thanh|
HÀ NỘI – To ensure that young children are developed physically, intellectually and spiritually and have equal access to comprehensive development care support services, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is improving the knowledge and skills of parents and caregivers.
Speaking at the launching of the Integrated Early Childhood (IECD) Holistic Parenting Scale-up Project on Wednesday, Nguyễn Thị Hà, Vice Minister said that integrated child development in the first years of life has become the goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that Việt Nam has committed to implement.
Việt Nam is the first country in Asia and the second in the world to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, the country has issued rights and principles to ensure the implementation of children's rights, such as the 2013 Constitution and the 2016 Law on Children.
The project on the comprehensive development of children between 2018-2025 has been implemented, helping the country to be among 69 countries that issued a national master plan on the issue.
"Guiding parenting skills are essential to achieving the best development for every child. Parents need to be provided with knowledge and skills on children's education at their early age, help children develop physically and shape their personality," she said.
Lesley Miller, the deputy representative of UNICEF Việt Nam, said although being a parent is the toughest and the most rewarding job, many people lack the appropriate knowledge and skills to ensure their young children live, learn and grow up in a nurturing and caring environment.
She emphasised that this challenge is even harder for parents from poor, rural, or mountainous areas or those who have migrated from their extended families to find work.
The IECD Holistic Parenting Project is built upon achievements from the pilot period, which was assessed as a success in building up parents' knowledge and skills to improve children's wellbeing, cognitive, social and emotional development in communities and through the workplace.
Lê Hồng Loan, head of UNICEF Việt Nam's Children Protection Office, said the project was piloted in 27 communes across the provinces of Điện Biên, Gia Lai and Kon Tum and several companies in HCM City between 2019-2021.
The program, jointly implemented by UNICEF, MOLISA, VCCI and Generali, helped improve parenting skills such as health care, nutrition, early-learning stimulation, communication with children and non-violent discipline to more than 10,000 parents.
The project trained 13 lecturers and 130 guides to organise group activities for parents to discuss experiences for two hours each session.
In the next three years, the project will be expanded to 15 cities and provinces, targeting about 276,000 parents of young children. In addition, the project will organise several online training programmes and develop a set of books on parenting skills.
The pilot project has received positive feedback. Lò Thị Duyên, a mother in the Điện Biên Province's Tuần Giáo District, said she learnt many new skills to be a good parent.
"I didn't know that parenting needed to be learnt and practised. After this course, I know how important to play with my kids, understand them, talk to them, bond with them and especially control my anger and not scold them," she said.
Nguyễn Thị Kim Oanh, a representative of Điên Biên Province's Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department, said up to 756 out of 2,760 parents joining the project were fathers of children between 1 and 8 years old.
These parents were all ethnic minorities living in disadvantaged areas in Tủa Chùa, Điện Biên Đông and Tuần Giáo districts. They joined an eight-session course on parenting skills.
Oanh said most parents are happy with the course, but a guide who could speak ethnic languages would help them immensely, as some are not good at the Vietnamese language.
According to experts, three factors should be focused on to achieve the project's success. They are; commitment and investment from local authorities, departments and women unions in 15 cities and provinces; effectiveness and skills of trainers and facilitators who will support parents to improve their parenting skills; and collaboration among key sectors and agencies, including social welfare, health, education and mass organisations. – VNS