In 1954, the first Universal Children’s Day was established to be celebrated every year on Nov. 20. The concept behind the United Nations’ project is to promote global awareness about and among children, working toward improving conditions for children and their welfare. UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) coordinates the annual event. While many countries — including Canada and the United Kingdom — officially celebrate Universal Children’s Day, the United States does not yet.
You might want to encourage your school, spiritual group or other community organization to honor Universal Children’s Day this year.
Many schools create an event around the day. Perhaps you can talk to your child’s school or religious teacher about adding a mention of Universal Children’s Day to your child’s classroom holiday party.
Volunteer to help children in younger elementary classes make drawings of the world and pinpoint at least three countries on their drawings.
Older elementary classes can read about what children’s lives are like in other countries with respect to their education, duties, traditions, religious outlooks, community involvement.
Middle-schoolers and older students may want to discuss the differences between the rights children have in different countries.
Other children’s celebrations around the globe include:
International Children’s Day of Broadcasting. International Children’s Day of Broadcasting is celebrated the first Sunday in March, according to UNICEF’s website. It is a joint initiative between UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is intended for broadcasters to “tune in to kids” around the world.
Children’s Day in Japan. This is a national holiday in Japan celebrated on May 5. Started in 1948, Children’s Day is a festive day to celebrate the life of Japanese children. The holiday is believed to have begun in China, where medicinal herbs were hung to ward off childhood diseases. In Japan, it is traditionally celebrated by giving children gifts of kites and hanging streamers.
Tip from the parenting trenches:
Check out World Day of Prayer and Action for Children at www.dayofprayerandaction.org. Run in conjunction with Universal Children’s Day on Nov. 20, the theme this year is “Stop Violence Against Children.” Click on the yellow “Take Action” on the home page to find ideas on creating an event or to download “A Note on Positive Parenting and Non-Violent Discipline” (of which I am a big advocate).