Safety Out and About

10 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe When Out and About

Safety Out and AboutBeing out and about shopping with young children can be stressful. This week in our ’10 Ways to’ parenting tips series, we explore some tips that will help you keep them safe.

  1. Talk with children once they start to develop language skills about where they live, their phone number and parent’s name.
  2. Help your child recognise staff members in large shops. Point out uniforms and other identifiers. help them to understand that if they lose sight of their parent/carer that they should only talk with a staff member.
  3. For young children it can be useful for them to wear a wristband with your phone number on it as sometimes people may not understand what they are saying or your child may be too scared to tell them anything.
  4. Always talk with children about strangers; these are men, women and children. Help them to understand that they do not talk with strangers and should never go anywhere with them no matter how attractive it may seem.
  5. For young children, especially those under two years of age, it is best to keep them in a buggie when in large shops, malls or streets. They may not love the idea, but they can go missing in minutes otherwise. Help them enjoy the trip with small breaks from the buggie to eat and for hugs, but secure them in the buggie otherwise.
  6. For children who have outgrown the buggie it is very useful to use a wrist harness. It can be hard to hold hands all the time especially if you’re carrying bags. Talk with your child about the purpose of the harness, to keep them safe.
  7. Once you enter the shopping centre, show your child a clear place that they should go to if separated from you; for example, a security desk or any brightly coloured or unusual feature that stands out. This place needs to be easily spotted when looking up from your child’s height so crouch down beside them when showing them this spot. Children will not see which way to go if you choose a location which they can’t see from looking up.  They need to be able to see past the crowd.
  8. Explain to your child that if they do get lost to just to stay still and not move about at first, and that they must always answer you when you call their name. Then you can go back to the places you have been and hopefully locate them. Children can at times hide in clothes or toys and in shelves; there is so much to distract them in busy shops. Help them to understand that this may be good fun but when they do this, you cannot see them.
  9. Maybe let your child have a whistle, or if old enough to use a phone, perhaps they could have one to use when out and about. Your number can be pre-programmed on quick dial. This may support you finding them sooner.
  10. If your child does get separated from you, inform staff immediately. Do not hesitate. Do not feel you need to wait and look yourself first. Get help from the staff straight away.

LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on the topic of safety when out and about on Monday 12 January from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook page. Join in and post your question.

Next you might like to read 10 ways to Develop Playtime with your Child or 10 ways to Be More Socially Engaged 

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming soon: 10 Ways to Talk with Children About Death.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

Happy child

10 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Self Esteem

Children are a wonderful gift, but they are very delicate and it is often easy for them to feel unappreciated or ignored. As parents, it is very important to make sure our children are growing up happy and confident, and to do that we must make sure they feel special, appreciated, and loved. By recognising their accomplishments and encouraging them to be proud of themselves, we can help them to develop confidence and a sense of achievement that will last them the rest of their lives. In this week’s edition of parenting tips, we highlight 10 ways to improve your child’s self esteem.

1. Children who have lots of positive experiences and positive things said to them will have healthy levels of self esteem, as opposed to children who have many negative experiences growing up.

2. Children need to be recognised and admired. They are important to us and important in the world. Tell them this!

3. Praise children for the efforts they make. The focus should not be on the end result. Children remember praise and it has long-lasting effects.

4. Compliment children on their appearance, how they are doing at school, with friends and with hobbies. Every child is special and should know this.

5. Notice your children’s strengths and tell them what they are. Help them understand how to use those strengths well.

6. Show your child you are so proud of them and the effort they make – to play, to share, to eat dinner etc.

7. Have special time with your child each day and let them know they are top of your list. The feeling of self worth will be enormous.

8. Encourage children to be proud of their own achievements.

9. Encourage children to be open about what strengths they have and also that we all can’t be good at everything. Help them accept they are human, and it is normal to have strengths and weaknesses.

10. Be respectful of children. Talk with them, not at them. Listen to them and hear what they are trying to say. Understand their behaviours and why they exist rather than trying to just fix them. Admire their qualities, even those which are challenging can be used in positive ways throughout life. Accept your child for who they are and tell them everyday how much you love and admire them.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Support Your Child’s Sex Education; 10 Ways to Survive Sleepless Nights; 10 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

Image credit: Pixabay

Thumbs up

10 Ways to Be Assertive

Assertiveness is a wonderful quality to have, and as long as you know how to use it properly it can be help you be direct and clear in your communication with others. In order to be successful with communication, there are several guidelines we can all follow to ensure our point is being made in an assertive way.  In this week’s edition of our ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, we look at 10 keys to being assertive.

  1. Assertiveness is an approach that helps you to be direct, honest and respectful in expressing your feelings, wants, needs and opinions.
  2. You should always be respectful of others and yourself when being assertive.
  3. Being assertive should not mean being aggressive.
  4. Use clear and direct communication instead of unclear or indirect communication.
  5. Be more confident about how you say things and how you get your message across.
  6. Assertiveness will help your children learn how to be assertive and help a family to be positive and have shared values.
  7. Remember you are making requests not demands. Expect yes and no answers.
  8. Be ready to negotiate and compromise with others, including children.
  9. Be very specific with children in particular about what you need them to do. ‘I need you to tidy your room’ is too vague. Indicate certain areas of the room: ‘I need you to tidy your dolls today’ and explain what that should look like.
  10. Learn to say no and explain why it is a ‘No.’ The ‘No’ is about you safeguarding yourself as opposed to blocking another person: ‘No, you cannot walk alone to the shops, I need you to be safe and I need to hold your hand to ensure this.’

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Tips for Respecting Difference; 10 Tips on Preparing Your Child for Preschool; 10 Tips on Improving Your Child’s Self Esteem

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or


Picture credit: Pixabay

One Family’s Reaction to Rental Assistance Reforms

It has been confirmed by the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan TD, that the responsibility for the payment of rent allowance is to be handed over to local authorities as a pilot in seven areas around the country including Limerick Joint Authority (previously Limerick City and County Councils) and one in Dublin from January 2014.

One Family has reacted today to how the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and local authorities are placed to tackle the significant challenge of implementing the reforms to rental assistance and these changes transferring both the assessment and payments to local authorities.

Stuart Duffin, our Director of Policy & Programmes, commented:  “Working to manage the introduction of the rental assistance reforms will be the challenge, not the change in who pays. Their full impact is currently uncertain and depends on how households and the housing market react, locally as well as nationally. DSP and all local authorities have a crucial role to play in anticipating and addressing adverse consequences for claimants and the administration. Some challenges cannot perhaps be planned for: where the interaction of local authority funding constraints, the social housing stock, rental market conditions and the local economy produces extreme impacts. As issues emerge, the Department will need to be capable of a flexible response, well-coordinated with other sources of support for families.”

The Department is actively preparing for the implementation of these housing supports reforms and One Family calls on it to use available data to assess the impact of the reforms on current entitlements. We ask if these reforms will result in households receiving lower assistance, particularly in areas of high rent such as Dublin, and how will this impact on an already landlord-driven rental market?

Ten questions to be resolved are:

  1. What are the new local housing allowance restrictions and guidelines?
  2. Will this impact on all claimants immediately?
  3. Is there any additional help to support those who are hardest hit and is there a discretionary payments fund?
  4. Is this intended to help all  those who may  lose out  financially?
  5. What happens to existing  customers?
  6.  Are there changes planned  for direct payments of local rental allowance to  landlords?
  7. What is the financial impact  of this change?
  8.  How will local housing  allowances be  implemented in the future?
  9. Will direct payments to landlords be allowed in the social rented sector?
  10. How will housing costs be calculated ?

The Government must intend the reforms to improve the system. However, reforms could also lead to hardship or an increased risk of homelessness. How tenants and landlords will respond is highly uncertain at the moment and the Department must commission independent research to evaluate the impact of the reforms during and after implementation.

The Department needs to be actively working with all local authorities to identify the extent to which the reforms will increase the administrative burden on the authorities. It clearly has further ground to cover. Many people know very little about the changes, and the extent to which those affected have been informed varies according to where they live.

Private rented sector households know little or nothing about the changes that would affect them.

The Department has put in place transitional support through increased funding for discretionary housing payments. It needs to work with other departments and local authorities to monitor emerging issues and manage risks for both private and social tenants.

Has your One Parent Family payment ended?

Some people will no longer qualify for the One Parent Family Payment (OFP) from 4 July 2013. If you are getting no other payment you may qualify for other income supports. A Jobseeker’s Allowance transition payment is available, which aims to support lone parents with children under 14 years of age back into the workforce. You need to make a new claim for these payments.

If you are working and are already getting a Family Income Supplement (FIS) your FIS payment will automatically increase when your OFP ends. This will partially make up for the loss of the OFP.

If you are unsure of what you can access and are struggling financially, please call our askonefamily Lo-call Helpline on 1890 662 212 or email us.


1.    Q. My payment is due to end in July as my youngest child is 18, can I avail of the Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition scheme?

A:  No, the Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition scheme will only apply to those whose youngest child is under 14 so if you are applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance you will be subject to the full conditionality of being available for and genuinely seeking full time work.

2.    Q. My payment is due to end in July and my youngest child is 11.  I am working 5 mornings a week from 10 to 12 noon, can I apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition?

A:  Yes, because your child is under 14 you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition and although you are employed for 5 days in the week you are still eligible for this payment, subject to the means test.

3.   Q. I started receiving OPF in November 2011. My child is 14 now and my payment is going to end as the age conditions changes from 14 to 12 in July.  What payment am I eligible for as I am job seeking already?

A: As your child is already 14 then you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance and you will need to meet the full conditionality of the payment of being available for and genuinely seeking full time work.





Public call to give one-parent families an equal chance for economic well-being in Budget 2014

Press Release

(Dublin, Friday 19 July) Today One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, calls on members of the public to email and connect with their local TDs to demand the implementation of One Family’s “10 Solutions for Smarter Futures,” a series of ten no-nonsense, low or no-cost actions that government must implement to better the lives of the adults and children in one-parent families who continue to experience the highest rates of poverty in Ireland. 2014 is the 20th anniversary of Family Day as proclaimed by the UN – the Irish Government should reflect this by giving one-parent families an equal chance.

There are over 215,000 one-parent families in Ireland today and over half a million people living in one-parent families. One Family calls on each of these families, and everyone who knows a member of a one-parent family, to join in the campaign by emailing their local TD to ensure that all of Ireland’s families can enjoy a higher quality of life.

One Family Director of Policy and Programmes, Stuart Duffin, commented: “The 10 Solutions are all about delivering some of the supports needed to enable lone parents to have Smarter Futures out of poverty, off social assistance and into quality sustainable jobs.  These solutions may not require a lot of money but they do require public services and policy makers to think and behave creatively in order to deliver more appropriate and effective services for their customers and constituents.”

10 Solutions for Smarter Futures is part of One Family’s Strategy 2013-2015, launched last month on the 28th.  These solutions are focused on improving the well-being of Ireland’s one parent families, and they are changes that will benefit everyone. Just over 87,000 people are in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP).  Mr. Duffin explains: “The new Jobseekers Allowance payment, which responds to our call for Flexibilities, is designed to allow former recipients of OFP whose youngest child is under 14 years of age to avail  of Minister Burton’s activation services to return to work, education or training. The implementation of 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures would make a real difference for lone parents as they move into the workplace, education and/or training as the solutions fully recognise the particular difficulties that can be faced by those parenting alone such as lack of child care and long-term absence from the labour market.”

Mr. Duffin commented further: “To help some of the poorest children in Ireland have a better life, please champion and advocate for 10 Solutions.

One Family’s Number 1 solution is:

Flexibilities: allow lone parents who are moving to Jobseeker’s Allowance to seek only part-time work during the school term in order to assist lone parents who have a child with a disability or lack of access to childcare or are coping with a bereavement or separation.

Others include: solution 5 – Responsive Learning; solution 6 – Progression Opportunities; solution 10 – Poverty and Parent Proofing.

Members of the public are invited to visit to learn more about 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures and to add their voices to the campaign by availing of the facility there to email their TDs. For additional information, they may also email:

Notes for Editors:

  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family
  • Over half a million people live in one-parent families in Ireland
  • Almost 1 in 5 children (18.3%) live in a one-parent family (Census 2011)
  • There are over 215,000 one-parent families in Ireland today (25.8% of all families with children; Census 2011)
  • 87,586 of those are currently receiving the One-Parent Family Payment.
  • Those living in lone parent households continue to experience the highest rates of deprivation with almost 56% of individuals from these households experiencing one or more forms of deprivation (EU-SILC 2011).
  • The full 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures document is available to read here.
  • Twitter #10Solutions


About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to those working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 622 212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today, with almost 10,000 people attending events this year on 19 May ( For further information, visit


Available for Interview

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023


Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511


Update on JAT following briefing at Dept of Social Protection

One Family attended a briefing this evening at the Department of Social Protection to learn about the new scheme announced today that will be available to lone parents:  Jobseekers’ Allowance – Transition.

The scheme removes the requirement to be looking and available for full-time employment, but has particular conditionalities that must be met. The Department will be sending letters out to those who were previously expected to move onto Jobseekers’ Allowance in the first week of July. Local offices will not have full details of the JAT until next week.

To read additional information from One Family, including Q&A, please click here.

Anyone who has any questions regarding the upcoming transition, please call the askonefamily lo-call helpline on 1890 662 212.


New Jobseekers’ Transition arrangement: For lone parents work is now more of a possibility

Press Release

For lone parents work is now more of a possibility

(Dublin, 21 May 2013) Today, Minister Burton, listening and responding to One Family’s Ten Solutions campaign is presenting to Cabinet a progressive reform which will allow lone parents who are on social welfare to seek part-time work rather than full-time when they are moved to Jobseekers Allowance through a new arrangement called Jobseeker’s Transition.

One Family’s Director of Policy and Programmes, Stuart Duffin explains: ‘We have been advocating for this progressive reform since Budget 2012. All our evidence suggests that lone parents often need to access jobs with relatively short hours when returning to employment. Lone parents value working in part time-jobs as a way of balancing labour-market participation with caring responsibilities.’

He continues: ‘A part-time job acts as a ‘stepping-stone’ into working longer hours. There are good reasons for believing that any experience of work is likely to improve future chances of employment – particularly for lone parents who have spent long periods out of work. ‘For those parenting alone, whose primary responsibility and duty of care is to their child(ren), progressive activation which encourage employment efforts by acknowledging and responding to the needs and supports around childcare, personal and career development are very welcome.’

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: ‘One Family has been calling for a series of flexibilities in relation to the compulsory activation of lone parents in line with other jurisdictions due to the unique family and parenting responsibilities they face. Given the relatively poor provision of accessible and affordable out of school care in Ireland, these flexibilities are a must and we are pleased that Minister Burton has responded to the concerns of our members and clients on this critical issue.’

Duffin further highlights: ‘As part of this reform One Family looks forward to working with Government to provide meaningful engagement and tailored support for those moving back into the labour market and or education to secure a new future for families and children while helping to safeguard parenting responsibilities. Our New Futures programme has been specifically designed to delivery on this welfare to work policy.

Kiernan warns: ‘One Family will be closely monitoring how this policy is implemented in practice to ensure that parents are not compromised and that the number of part-time hours required under the new transition scheme will be achievable for parents.’

Find out more about One Family’s 10 Solutions campaign here:  #10Solutions


Available for comment:

Stuart Duffin, Director Policy & Programmes, One Family | t: 087 062 2023

Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family | t: 086 850 9191

For further information or scheduling, please contact:

Shirley Chance for One Family | t: 087 414 8511 | e:

UNICEF publishes Report Card 11

One Family is attending Taking Action to Fight Child Poverty and to Promote Child Well-being, a two-day conference in Dublin organised by Eurochild, European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland, UNICEF and Children’s Rights Alliance as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the EU.

Yesterday UNICEF published Report Card 11 naming Ireland as the 10th best developed country in the world for children to grow up, ahead of both the UK and the US. This report, launched by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald, is the culmination of research spanning ten years (2001-2010) and also shows a decade of steady progress for the nation’s children.

“However, this report card does not show the on-the-ground reality of austerity policies and practices which stem from Budget 2012 which are hitting the poorest families hardest,” said Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy and Programmes at One Family.

“Those at the top had the boom but it’s those at the bottom being made to suffer the bust and this particularly is the case for those parenting alone. We need to build and invest in the jobs, housing and childcare that will stimulate the economy and meet the needs of all families.

“If we don’t it will be shocking and dangerous in public policy terms, and also a catastrophe for the childhoods and life chances of so many of our children.”

At the conference, One Family has presented Investing in Children – Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage. Our 10 Solutions for Smarter Futures campaign sets out pointers for government to alleviate the impact of persistent and consistent poverty for those parenting alone. Learn more about 10 Solutions here.

The time for One Family’s ‘Ten Solutions Smarter Futures’ is now

Almost half of the State’s children are living in households in receipt of social welfare, the Oireachtas Social Protection Committee was told yesterday.

Ita Mangan, Chairwoman of the group that recommended a two-tier child benefit system, warned that this is “worrying” and also told the committee that one in five children in the Republic of Ireland lived in a home where income was less than €20,000 a year. Labour TD Brendan Ryan noted that the lack of affordable childcare was a “major barrier” to single parents working.

One Family’s ongoing campaign Ten Solutions Smarter Futures clearly outlines why the current welfare system needs to be reformed. It is time for a system which lifts people out of poverty and treats everyone with dignity and respect. Responding to Ms Mangan’s evidence to the committee Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes for One Family, highlights the benefits of  Ten Solutions Smarter Futures  and encourages TDs and Senators to agree its execution.

“Against a background of inaccurate and discriminatory media stories which too often demonise lone parents, the system increasingly focuses on blaming individuals for being out of work,” Mr Duffin said.

“Overall, welfare reform has resulted in gaps in provision, especially for those in precarious situations such as those parenting alone. Reforms are based on the assumption that those on welfare should move into employment, regardless of the existence, quality or sustainability of jobs. They assume that benefit recipients lack the motivation to work. Significant moral and ethical questions exist over the ability of large multi-national private employment agencies to profit financially when disadvantaged people find themselves jobs.

“Meanwhile the real barriers to employment such as lack of childcare, employer discrimination, below poverty level wages and the lack of jobs are not tackled effectively. Many lone parents are required to engage in work seeking activities, education and training despite inadequate childcare provision in some areas.”

Mr Duffin concludes: “The real challenge is to make childcare affordable for those at the bottom end, so that there are strong incentives for those parenting alone parents to continue or engage in employment and/or education. That would do much more to help reduce child poverty, and it would help our economic our recovery too.”

The current system is expensive to administer. It is time to stop tinkering with the system and make some fundamental changes which can be achieved through an area-based whole of government outcomes-focused tactic to reduce child poverty. Current policies and practice do little to address the inequalities that place lone parents in precarious labour market situations. There is an acute and urgent need for policies that:

1.         Guarantee flexibilities within JA,

2.         Prevent in-work poverty and create adequate incomes to ensure that no child experiences poverty,

3.         Support job retention,

4.         Guarantee affordable, flexible and high-quality childcare.

The families facing the hardest struggle, particularly those parenting alone, do not have the spending power businesses need to get back to growth and create new jobs. It would be far better for family welfare and business growth if families were at the frontline of economic stimulus. Countries that took this approach when the economic crisis started have recovered much more strongly.

Read more about One Family’s Ten Solutions Smarter Futures campaign here.