This week we are celebrating national Children’s Week 2023 (from 20th to 29th October), with the theme: Children have the right to relax, play and take part in activities they enjoy (from Article 31, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).
In 1989, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world.
But it is sad to say that still to this day, yes even in Australia, not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood.
As a rights based body, the Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People is an ardent advocate for the UN convention on the Rights of the Child. We also believe in this years theme about the importance of children having fun, with our Charter of Rights stating, “I have the right to good health, fun and play” which includes, “relaxing, having fun and joining in activities that interest me”.
Having fun can mean lots of different things – playing with friends, playing a sport of choice, enjoying activities with others (like watching a movie, singing, dancing, playing music, going on outings to places of interest, being read to, sharing stories, celebrating special occasions, and going on holidays). It can also be as simple as having a good ‘belly laugh’. There are lots of psychological benefits to having fun too – it is energising, creates connection with others, reduces stress and elevates your mood by creating ‘feel good’ factor in your body.
Here are some of the things children and young people have told our office about how they have fun:
· 16-year-old ‘Jax’ has fun seeing his mates – “I’m a crack at games.”
· 15-year old ‘Jaimie’ loved playing a lead role in her school musical.
· 13-year-old ‘Connor’ loves playing hockey and going to Scouts.
· 12-year-old ‘Jack’ had lots of fun on a holiday to interstate with his foster family and really enjoys playing basketball, soccer and football.
· 11-year-old ‘Toni’ loves reading, especially Harry Potter books.
· 10-year-old ‘Maisie’ loves doing cooking and craft with her mentor.
· 7-year-old ‘Kyle’ loves going to markets with his carers.
· 5-year-old ‘Ryan’ has fun watching movies with his Nanna.
We encourage all children, young people, their carers and families to get into the spirit of Children’s Week, reflect on what the right to have fun means in practice, in terms of ‘who, what, when, where and how’, and to get involved in some of the fun activities offered in the community. Let’s celebrate our children and have fun together!
We also encourage those not familiar with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to research and embrace this historical and fundamentally world changing agreement/treaty!