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“Time” - the Favoured Currency for Children’s Day

For Immediate Release
9th October 2000

“Time” - the Favoured Currency for Children’s Day

This coming Children’s Day, 29th October, gives New Zealanders a great opportunity to think about fun and challenging ways to enjoy time with children, according to Sarah Calvert, a Senior Psychologist with Child, Youth and Family.

She says many New Zealand families face tough pressures these days, with both parents having to work full time and less extended family support than they could count on a few decades ago.

“This makes it more difficult for parents to set aside time to spend with their children,” Calvert said. “I see Children’s Day as a great opportunity to have fun with the family - and that doesn’t mean spending money.”

Spending time, not money, is one of the central themes of the first ever New Zealand Children’s Day, Sunday 29 October.

The three agencies organising and promoting the day (Child, Youth and Family, Barnardos and the Office of the Commissioner for Children) say Children’s Day is not simply about buying a gift or having a commercial day that mimics Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Rather they hope people will do something new or special with the children in their lives, have fun with them and establish new traditions that involve children.

Sarah Calvert notes that television and advertising can make families feel that the best way to value kids is to spend money on them.

“I hope people will think about doing memorable things together that don’t cost anything as those experiences are often more lasting,” she said.

Another key theme of Children’s Day is making a commitment to sharing new experiences with children, especially those arising from asking children how they want to spend the day.

Professor Anne Smith from the Children’s Issues Centre at Otago University says that even from a very young age children need the opportunity to have input into the adult world and can make a valuable contribution when given a chance. Inviting and respecting their opinion also helps to make children feel valued.

Some ideas to discuss in planning how individuals might spend time with the children in their lives on 29 October include:
 Do something at home which involves children and adults working together, such as creating a family feast with each person creating a dish, or planning a new garden.
 Explore your local area by taking a picnic or going for a walk.


- more -

 Turn off the tv, video, playstation, radio, computer and CD player and have a day without technology. Instead, play cards or charades, read to each other or tell stories.
 Do something new and challenging outside like kite flying, climbing a hill, making a raft and taking it on the water, sleeping out overnight or having a cook-out on an open fire.
 Be creative as a family. Make musical instruments, paint portraits of each other, write a continuous story, craft cards or gifts to give to family, or make a book about your family.
 Focus on family safety to show children how important they are to you. Talk about what to do if there was a fire, discuss safety in the water and, with older children, talk about how to deal with things that make them feel embarrassed or unsafe.

Children’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to start new traditions within extended families and communities, such as storytelling, learning games, spending time with grandparents, and enjoying new experiences. It is also a chance for adults to let loose the child in themselves and have fun with children for the day.

To find out more about Children’s Day or list your event on the Register of what is happening around the country on the day visit the website at www.childrensday.org.nz or call the Freephone on 0508 222 000.

ENDS

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