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Children’s Day Sends Loving Message

With four weeks to go until New Zealand’s first annual Children’s Day, New Zealanders are encouraged to give love and affection, praise and encouragement to the children in their lives.

Since the announcement of Children’s Day four months ago, support has grown for the day. Over 300 calls have been made to the free phone line, the web site has had over 1000 hits, and 30 Children’s Day events have been registered on a special dedicated web site.

The day has been supported by three key agencies, Child, Youth and Family, Barnardos, and the Office of the Commisioner for Children. In addition, a steering committee of 11 government and non-government agencies has helped to bring the day about.

“Many New Zealanders have felt sick and horrified by the recent reported cases of child abuse and neglect,” says Child, Youth and Family Chief Executive Jackie Brown. “Children’s Day gives people the opportunity to focus on children as our treasure, and to spend special time with them to demonstrate that.”

One of the key messages being promoted for the day, asks New Zealanders to focus on giving love and affection, and praise and encouragement to their children.

“Children are like plants – they grow best when the conditions are right. Love and affection is like sunshine – growing things need it to survive and thrive,” says Ms Brown. “Children need to be praised for the things they do well, and encouraged to do better, rather than criticised for not doing well enough.”

Ideas presented to help parents show love and affection, praise and encouragement include:
 Notice small things that the child does well, and tell them so.
 Make it clear that even if you don’t like the child’s behaviour, you still love them.
 Encourage them to try new things, making it clear that it does not matter if they fail.
 Praise them for trying, whether they succeed or not.
 Celebrate their successes, however small. Be sure they know you are proud of them.
 Use encouraging words.
 Don’t let others tease or put your children down
 Don’t compare your children negatively with other children.
 Remember all young people thrive on affection – hugs, cuddles and smiles.

Jackie Brown says experts working in the area of child behaviour and parenting agree that love, attention and approval are vitally important to children.

More information about Children’s Day is available by calling 0508 222 000, or visiting the web site: www.childrensday.org.nz. Individuals and groups are invited to register their event via the web site.

Contact: Sue Lytollis, Project Manager Children’s Day,
Child, Youth and Family, Mobile: 029-513 454
e-mail: sue.lytollis001@cyf.govt.nz

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