(Photo: Frank McKenna)
Honouring Children as “Active participants in their own lives”!
Of course we at The Moving Child are interested in this word “active”, and in how children can experience a felt sense of agency through their body, in this world today.
We are also interested in how children’s rights are being met or not met at this time, and in different environments.
What does Children’s Rights mean to you?
The Child Rights Activity Guide from the Canadian Gov’t can help caregivers of children to become more aware of these rights. It is found here: National Child Day: Child Rights Activity Guide
Taking a moment to read a child their international rights (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) can be very inspiring and empowering.
For a Child-Friendly printable guide to the UN Rights of the Child poster please click here.
I used to post these rights on the back of my school counsellor office door, and children would look at it and ask questions, and more so reflect on their own lives and needs.
One of the rights is the RIGHT TO BE ACTIVE, another is THE RIGHT TO PLAY and a third is the RIGHT TO SURVIVAL AND DEVELOPMENT.
It is these rights which assert that there is a right to move dynamically for all children throughout the day, as part of their healthy development, in order to best enhance growth. We would assert that teaching children to listen to their body’s need for movement and honouring that, can best support self-regulation and happiness. (That said, there is also the need for sensory-based quieter activities too, that involve more stillness and focus). It is this movement range that supports the brain to function optimally, and supports all other aspects of child development.
Here are some examples of areas where children’s need to move is not being met:
- Schools that cancel or shorten recess or gym time, or outdoor play, in lieu of more time in math/reading.
- Infants spending too much time in car seats or other devices that restrict movement.
- Children on screens too much of the day, instead of in 3-D movement play with peers.
We can always ask ourselves as parents/caregivers and educators, are we meeting these guaranteed universal rights of the child that are based in true needs, in optimal ways?
How can we do better on the dynamic movement right?
Because not only can Governments help children live and grow to be the best they can be, all adults are responsible for creating a healthy child-friendly culture.
Take ONE ACTION TODAY!
- Invite a child to dance with you to music!
- Mirror each other, play leader/follower, play up and down, and/or engage in rough and tumble play.
- Ask a child how their body wants to move in this moment, and see what they sense!
More Resources: National Child Day and other resources.