National Child Day has been celebrated across Canada since 1993 to commemorate the United Nations’ adoption of two documents centered on children’s rights: the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20th, 1959 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20th 1989. These outline Canada’s commitment to our Children in making this a better place for Children to live. Almost every country has agreed to these same rights.
The Convention of the Rights of the Child has 4 key principles. First, that all children have rights and they must be protected without discrimination for race, ethnicity or ability. These are basic rights to food, safety and shelter. Second, decisions made that impact children should take into account what is best for them. Third, children should be protected from harm, and live and supported to live and grow to be the best they can be. Finally, children have the right to give their opinions in all matters that affect them and to have their voices heard. Their views should always be taken seriously and they should have more say as they grow older.
Celebrating National Child Day is about celebrating children as active participants in their own lives and in communities, as active citizens who can and should meaningfully contribute to decision-making. Regardless of who you are, you play a vital role in the healthy development of the children in your community. On November 20th, and every other day, make children feel special and important to you and their community! How can we show children they matter? Try some of these activities to celebrate;
- Ask a child for advice.
- Wear the color blue (the national recognized color of National Child Day)
- Explore ways to make your community safer for children
- Donate to a local children’s charity, or a local food bank
- Share a book or story with a child
- Make a scrapbook highlighting your child’s past week
- Tell a neighbor or friend about National child day
- Take your child out for dinner or a special treat
- Remember to hug and kiss your child and tell them how much they are loved and valued as a member of the family.
- Listen to your child as they talk about their day.
- Arrange a play date with your child’s friends.
Take time to celebrate children’s rights on National Child Day and throughout the year! Your Regional KidsFirst Community Developer in your area would be happy to provide you with more information about services that might help you. For more information on National Child Day go to www.publichealth.gc.ca.