A report from Labour MP Graham Allen claims many mums and dads are 'ill-informed or poorly motivated' when raising their children.
The report - which is backed by the Coalition Government - says those families on low incomes are particularly in need of help, and recommends a national parenting campaign to be aimed at pregnant women.
It calls for a system to give all children 'healthy, stable and strong social and emotional foundations' in their early years.
The report also says mums-to-be must learn how to speak to their unborn babies, citing research which shows the tone of a pregnant woman's voice can 'influence the child growing inside her'.
Other recommendations included teaching parents to appreciate the importance of child development in the first 18 months, including educating parents on how to smile at and cuddle their babies.
It says: 'They need to appreciate the importance of talking frequently with a baby, and all the things that would make a positive difference such as cuddling, looking and smiling.'
It concludes that a parenting campaign should form the centrepiece of a cross-government strategy to give children a better start in life.
Do you agree with the suggestions in the report?
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