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Children's Day Offers Chance To Improve Wellbeing

SUNDAY is New Zealand's first-ever Children's Day - a day for families, whanau, and communities to get together, have fun, and celebrate their children.

"Almost any activity undertaken to celebrate Children's Day has potential to improve children's wellbeing," says Ministry of Health Chief Advisor Child and Youth Health Dr Pat Tuohy. He says children can be very aware of stressed parents and consistently say they would like to spend relaxed time with their parents.

"Children's Day is a good time to start doing many of the simple things you can do to enhance the health and wellbeing of your children. Simple things like kicking a ball around in the park or playing with a frisbee are great for children if they get parents and children involved with each other and provide a bit of gentle exercise at the same time," Dr Tuohy says.

"Most children have a remarkable degree of resilience - they have a great ability to bounce back from the emotional, physical and spiritual knocks that life deals out as they grow up," Dr Tuohy says.

He says parents can help build their children's emotional resilience with simple things such as being open to their children, talking to them, involving them fully in family life and being involved in their lives. Children with supportive peers are also likely to be more resilient. Parents can help build their children's physical resilience by feeding them well, ensuring they maintain their fitness and by getting them immunised against debilitating diseases such as polio, whooping cough and measles.

"Most New Zealand children live healthy lives but for a small proportion, there is a lot more we could do. Children's Day is not just one day, it is an example of how we can interact with our children every day," Dr Tuohy says.

Child, Youth and Family, Barnardos and the Office of the Commissioner for Children are the main agencies associated with Children's Day but schools, councils, community groups throughout New Zealand have organised activities to celebrate the day. For information about activities in your area, look at the Children's Day website www.childrensday.org.nz

For more information contact: Angus Barclay, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2182 Internet address: http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html


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