As we celebrate World Children’s Day today, I’d like to invite you to think back to when you were a child… How did you see the world? What were your hopes and dreams for when you grew up?
New survey results released today by UNICEF for World Children’s Day has uncovered what children today really think. The study shows that the 12,200+ children surveyed across 14 countries are increasingly worried and feel their voices are not heard.
The results also show that 45% of children do not trust adults or world leaders to make good decisions for them, and only a third of children feel world leaders appreciate their opinions.
Children all around the world have a right to voice their concerns and make decisions about their lives no matter their gender, race or religion. But sometimes, despite thinking that we (as parents and leaders) are acting in their best interests, we’re potentially hindering them from doing so.
So in light of World Children’s Day being celebrated all around the world today, here are my three simple tips for Australian mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers to let the children or grandchildren in their lives be seen and their voices heard:
- Let your little one(s) pick what they’d like to have for dinner at least once a week – and better yet, include them in the cooking process where possible. Children are often sidelined in the kitchen out of fear that they’ll be around knives and hot stoves, but something as simple as helping out with the meal prep gives children the opportunity to feel important and a sense of accomplishment whilst gaining an understanding of where their food comes from.
- Let them choose what they’d like to wear – yes, I understand that you might not want your children to wear their birthday suit out (if that’s what they want!), but if they have a natural preference for what they’d like to wear, allowing them to express themselves through their clothes is an easy way for them to feel a sense of freedom… it can also save you from a tantrum when you’re hurrying out the door in the morning!
- Make time to put technology away and truly listen to the children in your life – in the technological world we live in, we know from the survey results that children can feel like they’re never properly listened to. Let’s make a pact, from dinnertime onwards, it’s phone-free time and quality parent-kid time?
This World Children’s Day UNICEF Australia is inviting all Australians to speak up against bullying, discrimination and unfairness, through taking a pledge to listen to the children in their world.
Everyone can take the pledge at www.worldchildrensday.org.au
As part of our work to uphold the rights of children, UNICEF Australia will be traveling around the country in 2018 to host intimate consultations with children. This comes off the back of the Australian Government readdressing their commitment to upholding the Human Rights Convention of the Child. For more info head to: https://www.unicef.org.au/