As the name suggests, Tinkle Friend takes on the role of a close buddy who provides support, advice, and information (with love and light!) to primary school children who might be feeling lonely or distressed.
Started in 1984, Tinkle Friend serves as a national toll-free helpline and chatline for primary school children in Singapore – a self-funded service provided by Singapore Children’s Society. It is an anonymous platform for children to turn to, especially in situations when their parents or main caregivers are unavailable.
Manned by trained volunteers and staff members, Tinkle Friend guides children through problem-solving in a non-directive and caring approach.
A qualitative analysis of internal checks on our helpline service is done regularly. Some difficulties the children experienced from the impact of the pandemic include negative parent-child interactions due to higher parental stress, decrease in contact with friends, and difficulty in contacting their out-of-home social support figures, including teachers and school counsellors.
In August 2020, when Tinkle Friend launched a survey for its users, children shared that they felt supported after chatting with Tinkle Friend.
Children who have used Tinkle Friend felt happy and satisfied, and gave us their personal feedback:
This emphasizes the importance of making support accessible as much as we can and to continue promoting help-seeking behavior amongst children who might be in distress.
Tinkle Friend strives to play the role of an active – listener to children, allowing them to share freely without the fear of judgement. When a child is troubled and need some support, our staff and volunteers at Tinkle Friend will guide them through problem-solving in a non-directive and caring approach to collectively generate action plans.
When interacting with our users, Tinkle Friend does not take on the persona of a parent or teacher. Instead, we position ourselves to be like a good friend to the child. This makes the child feel like we are on the same level, and it enables them to open up to us more readily and freely.
Tinkle Friend also avoid being directive and we listen to the children’s sharing of their thoughts and feelings, and we will facilitate them to come up with solutions to overcome their struggles where appropriate.
There are additional resources that can be found on the Tinkle Friend website (www.tinklefriend.sg), and assembly talks are also conducted free of charge to primary schools to further enhance the socio-emotional and mental well-being of the children.
Tinkle Friend is fully funded by Singapore Children’s Society and your donations will support the overheads and operating costs of providing this service.
Every bit of support from you matters – It pushes us to continue doing our best in making a positive impact to our beneficiaries. Please support us!
Tinkle Friend Helpline: 1800 2744 788
Tinkle Friend Online Chat service: www.tinklefriend.sg