SCYofBC_Image_ABC

As part of our work raising awareness of children’s rights, SCY is continually creating new resources to help a variety of audiences learn more about children rights and how to uphold them. Most of our publications are available for free download. 

Child Rights Resources

This section contains a variety of resources for different user groups such as parents, teachers, service providers, and anyone interested in learning more about children’s rights.

Large Format, Simplified Version of the UNCRC

Promote awareness of the UNCRC loud and proud! This simplified large format (22″x36″) version of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child features BC/Canadian imagery.

Contact us about poster pricing and shipping.

Focusing on the Early Years: Child Rights Poster

Make children’s rights a part of your visual landscape. Hang bold rights posters in your classroom and workspaces.

Order 10 posters or less and we can ship them to you for free. If you need more copies, contact us about poster pricing and shipping.

Focusing on the Middle Years: Child Rights Poster

With great rights come great responsibilities! This poster shows children and adults how to balance the rights of children with their responsibilities. Make children’s rights a part of your visual landscape. Hang bold rights posters in your classroom and workspaces.

Order 10 posters or less and we can ship them to you for free. If you need more copies, contact us about poster pricing and shipping.

UNCRC Guiding Principles Posters

Supporting the rights of children and youth is as easy as 1-2-3-4! Our posters on the four guiding principles of the UNCRC highlight the key rights of the Convention: Non-discrimination; the right to life, survival, and development; promoting the best interests of children and youth; and respecting the views of children and youth.

Click on the link below to print out a poster or contact us for poster pricing and shipping!

“What is Culture?” Poster

Could you describe your culture? What about the children in your life? Every child has the right to connect to their culture and often rely on their caregivers to do so. Culture is not just celebrating special holidays and eating traditional meals. Based on the Iceberg Theory, the Culture Poster is packed with poignant questions to help you identify both the visible and invisible aspects of culture identity.

Contact us about poster pricing and shipping.

Your Child’s Rights: Parents’ Frequently Asked Questions Brochure
child-rights-pamphlet

Why should I teach my child about their rights? Don’t children’s rights take away my authority as a parent? Don’t children backtalk adults when they learn about their rights?

These are questions we hear all the time from parents. They are totally legitimate questions and deserve thoughtful responses. We teamed up with Drs. Katherine Covell and Brian Howe who are both Child Rights experts AND parents to help answer some of these questions.

This resource is available as an as a legal sized brochure that needs to be printed double sided and then folded. Print out the brochure below or contact us about pricing and shipping.

Activity: Child Rights Fortune Teller

Teach the kids in your life about their rights and also get to know them a little better yourself. This activity is designed to be done interactively with a friend or adult.

In partnership with Equitas, we’ve connected rights concepts with getting to know you questions. For example, the right to make friends and be part of groups is connected to the question inside the fortune teller, “Tell me about at time you included someone who was left out?”

When printed double sided the logos appear where your fingers go! Please contact us about pricing and shipping.

Child Rights in Canada’s Legal System

This series gives a snapshot of how the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is being implemented in the Canadian legal system.

A People’s Project

A People’s Project was described by participating youth as “super visionary, very idealistic.” This report and toolbox represents the findings from Canada’s first youth-led rights monitoring project. A People’s Project was a pilot project demonstrating a way to support youth in having a voice on their rights.

It succeeded in engaging youth in their own environments through a process relevant to them. Lessons from this project will be valuable for communities, governments, community groups, community organizers, and youth advocates.

This resource is both a report on the project plus a toolbox with activities for those looking to support youth in monitoring their own rights.

DOWNLOAD
Rights of Children and Youth in Care: Connection to family and culture, Workshop Manual

There are about 9,200 children and youth living in government care in British Columbia and about 60,000 children and youth in care in Canada. The experiences of each of these children living in care will be as diverse as the children themselves, yet we know that children and youth who feel connected to their culture and family will have better outcomes.

This workbook contains sample activities, statistics, and conversation starters on how we can facilitate connection to culture for children and youth receiving government services.

DOWNLOAD
Realizing Rights – Responding to Needs. Youth with Disabilities in Conflict with the Law in British Columbia

How can we ensure realization of the rights of youth with disabilities in conflict with the law? How can their needs best be met at various stages of the youth criminal justice system? And what can be done to prevent young people with disabilities from coming into conflict with the law? These resources explore root causes, give voice to the perspectives of youth and their parents, and provide a series of recommendations.

DISCUSSION PAPER
COMMUNITY CONSULTATION REPORT

Resources in Print

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and Public Policy: Perspectives on the Rights of Children with Disabilities in Canada

Through research and focus group discussion, SCY documented key issues of children with disabilities and their families. In addition, this report outlines how those responsible for developing and implementing public policy, and those who seek to influence policy, can use the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a tool to enhance the realization of rights for children with disabilities. (124 pages) Not available in electronic format. To order a print version for $25 contact us.

Beyond Article 23: Rights of Children with Disabilities under the UN Convention

This user friendly, plain language booklet is intended for families, service providers, and individuals interested in a primer on the Convention on the Rights of the Child with a particular focus on children with disabilities. It provides a brief introduction to the Convention and then goes through the 41 articles in the first part of the Convention, in numerical order. Not available in electronic format. To order a print version for $15 contact us.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: “Three in One” (Booklet)

A. Guidelines for Policy Development
B. A Model for Assessing Policy Compliance
C. Supplement

This booklet is a useful tool for those wishing to ensure that policy complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It contains a step-by-step process and checklists for those developing new policy, a process and rating criteria for those assessing the compliance of existing policy, and a reference supplement which provides additional information on the Convention and its interpretation. (50 pages)  To order a print version for $35 contact us.

Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Booklet
Aboriginal ECE Resource

This booklet provides information and ideas for Aboriginal Early Years Practitioners on how they can support children to learn about their rights.

To order a print version for $20, contact us.

DOWNLOAD

Special thank-you to the teachers at Eagle’s Nest AHS Preschool and Singing Frog AHS Preschool who advised on the development of this resource.

Articles for Parents

SCYofBC_Image_34

Many schools are teaching students about their rights, which is fantastic! But we know from parents that when their children learn about their rights, parents find it challenging to have a rights-based conversation in the home if parents themselves are not empowered with the knowledge of their children’s rights. Our articles are geared towards parents and dispel the common myths around children’s rights and in fact, empower parents as their child’s best advocate. We give suggestions for teaching and guiding children in those teachable moments so that parents do not have to be challenged by their children’s rights, but rather be their child’s ally as they learn about their rights.

We think your kid is pretty special. Without having even met your young one we can say that with some certainty, because we know for sure that your child and their classmates are among the first children in human history to enjoy their entire lives as rights holders.

The rights your child enjoys are outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which Canada ratified in 1991. All children under the age of 18 are guaranteed the right to life, survival, and development; to have their best interests looked after, to be meaningfully engaged, all without discrimination of any kind. There are 54 articles in the convention and they can be sorted under 4 basic pillars:

1) the right to be safe

2) the right to be healthy

3) the right to be heard

4) the right to be yourself

The UNCRC marks an amazing change in the way we view children and childhood. For example, during the industrial revolution children were expected to work in dangerous conditions. Kids were often viewed by society as a nuisance, and were merely small, future adults. We now understand how precious and important childhood is.

The UNCRC represents one of the most thorough and well-researched documents on what makes a healthy child. It balances protecting children from harm, acknowledges childhood vulnerability, but also recognizes children as capable humans who can and must have a say in matters that affect them. These rights ensure that children will not only have a healthy childhood but at each stage of their development will learn the tools to leading a successful life in adulthood, all with the help of an adult community who are looking after their best interest.

This year we are pleased to let you know that during this school year, your child will be learning about their rights, in the classroom and at home with you. They will learn about their rights and responsibilities—both as a child and as a global citizen. Throughout the year we will occasionally send home short and engaging homework assignments for parents and children to do together. We will also continually provide you with supports and information. Check back here for the rest of the school year for new articles and information to support you as a parent.

A common concern around child rights is that children will interpret their rights irresponsibly and want a “right”.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children is an amazing document that gives children protections and provisions that children previously in history have not benefitted from.

For example Article 12 of the UNCRC says that children have the right to express their views in matters that affect them, but this does NOT give kids authority over adults. The article is about encouraging all adults (not just parents) to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making.

When you involve children in decision-making in a way that is appropriate to a child’s level of maturity, you are modeling decision-making skills that will help them throughout their lives. Regularly invite children into family decision-making that is appropriate for their age.

For example, when you are deciding where your family will spend holiday time, invite your child into your decision making process. They will benefit from learning how you make your decision. Will you travel by air or car? Is your destination safe? Does everyone in the family have appropriate clothing for the climate where you’re travelling? Will there be a budget for the trip. Having your child involved in these types of decisions helps them learn what goes into planning and sound decision-making. This is an opportunity to give your child a say in family affairs. This doesn’t mean that they will get to plan the family holiday, but rather they get to participate.

Children and youth also have the right to be involved in legal matters. Parents, social workers, immigration workers, judges, lawyers, and teachers are also obligated to consult children on matters that affect them to help make decisions that are in the best interest.

At the end of the day, it’s about children getting a say, not getting their way and valuing the capacity of children to be a meaningful part of the world around them.

At our school we teach children about their rights because it helps them succeed in school and in life. When children learn about their rights research* finds:

• There is a decline in bullying and less classroom disruption

• Children demonstrate more positive conflict resolution skills with their peers and with adults

• Children show greater concern for themselves, each other and children in other parts of the world

• Children are more likely to use higher order thinking**

• Children are less likely to be excluded

• Children are more likely to attend school

• Children learn the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, both as a Canadian and as a global citizen who contributes positively to the world

(adapted from UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Brochure)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that children, as well as adults, know about the rights described within it. Schools are the logical place to reach the vast majority of children.

Does teaching children’s rights take time away from other classes? No. Children’s rights are not taught as a separate course. The children’s rights curriculum blends with existing classes in social studies, health, and personal development. Some teachers have also adapted the activities for use in math and other classes.

What are children learning about their rights? Children learn what the rights are, the difference between rights and wants, and how to uphold (respect) the rights of others. This can be taught in different ways depending on the child’s grade. The goal of the children’s rights curriculum achieving their potential and being responsible citizens.

*According to the research of Katherine Covell and Brian Howe, researchers at the Children’s Rights Centre at Cape Breton University

**Higher order thinking means thinking outside of the box. It means connecting ideas, making predictions, and evaluations. One way you can help encourage higher order thinking is to ask your child questions while you read or watch TV together. Instead of asking “what colour was Billy’s hair” you can ask, “why do you think Billy behaved that way?” or “what would you do in that situation” or “do you think that commercial we just watched is making true claims?”

We gratefully acknowledge Drs. Covell and Howe for their research and contributions to this article. 

We’ve shared with you a lot about the rights of children but what about the specific rights of parents?

Fears about rights. For parents, it’s a common fear that children, armed with the knowledge that they have rights will use the knowledge like a weapon and try to use their rights “against” their parents.

It’s about respect. Rest assured, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child repeatedly upholds the important role parents have in the lives of children and says that governments must respect the responsibility of parents for providing guidance to their children.

Specifically, the Convention supports:

  • Parents/caregivers in raising their children. (Article 5)
  • Child connecting with their nationality, name and family (Article 8.1)
  • How important it is for children to be raised by their parents whenever possible. (Article 7.1)
  • Parents to guide the religious development of their children. (Article 14)
  • The responsibility both parents have in raising their children. (Article 18)

It’s about respect. The Convention is clear that children have the responsibility to respect the rights of others. Children tend to understand this. If they want their rights respected, they know they must also respect the rights of others. One of the aims of a child rights education is the development of respect for everyone and their values and culture.

As human beings we all have rights and with those rights come responsibilities. When it comes to children’s rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child outlines the following responsibilities:

For children: the responsibility to respect the rights of others.

For parents: to respect and provide for the rights of their children.

For governments: to support families and to respect and provide for the rights of children through laws, policies and special programs.

Here’s a helpful chart to help you have conversations with your child about their rights and responsibilities.

Be Safe

The right to be safe means I need:

  • Protection from harm, including protection from discrimination
  • To be treated with respect
  • At least 5 adults who love me

My right to be safe gives me the responsibility to:

  • Know who I can ask for help
  • Follow the rules
  • Be aware of my surroundings
  • Take care of the things around me
  • Help others

Be Healthy

The right to be healthy means I need to:

  • Play and be active
  • Learn and find out things
  • Spend time in nature
  • Spend time with family and my friends
  • Receive the best health care possible, including special help if I need it

My right to be healthy gives me the responsibility to:

  • Play safely and play fair
  • Take care of my body and let it rest
  • Use my words when I am upset
  • Keep my community, home, and school clean
  • Make good choices about what I eat

Be Heard

My right to be heard means I need to:

  • Have a say (not my way) in decisions that affect me
  • Be listened to, and be taken seriously
  • Ask for, and receive help
  • Learn about my rights

My right to be heard gives me the responsibility to:

  • Honour my commitments
  • Cooperate with others
  • Be honest and respectful
  • Apologize when I make a mistake

Be Yourself

the right to be myself means I need to:

  • Have my own thoughts, feelings, and reasonable privacy
  • Express my ideas respectfully
  • Learn about mine and others’ culture, history, and religion
  • Be allowed to make mistakes
  • Be who I am!

My right to be myself gives me the responsibility to:

  • Respect the thoughts, feelings, and reasonable privacy of others
  • Be welcoming of others, especially those who need extra help
  • Try new things
  • Learn from my mistakes

When rugs become deep seas, wood chips become shark teeth, and a pair of pants becomes the body of a snake, you have the foundation of free play. Free play is spontaneous, self-motivated, and totally controlled by children. It is also a key right of every child to have time to play and rest (article 31).

Why is play so important? Free play provides rich opportunities for social, moral, and emotional development. It provides unique opportunities for kids to develop their own personality and increase their ability to handle stress and conflict. It is in free play that children learn to understand and co-operate with others. Free play may be the best way for children to truly express themselves and learn the skills they need for success in life.

Does free play make my child smarter? Yes! Neuroscientists tell us that free play creates new pathways in the brain that expand creative and intellectual capabilities.

Scientists have also found that children who participate in free play tend to be more intelligent, more creative, and happier than children who do not participate in free, unstructured play.

How do I support play? As an adult, it is your job to create opportunities for free play. It’s important to support your child rather than direct your child.

This can mean taking your child outside into all kinds of different natural environments. It can mean letting them interact with new friends, providing non-traditional play equipment (like hay stacks, milk crates, logs, mud, etc.) that will challenge your child.

It’s also important to keep in mind that organized sports and music lessons cannot be confused with play. These are activities that are organized and directed by adults. Organized activities definitely have their own benefits, but they can never replace the vital benefits of free play.

It is the nature of children to question and challenge, but it is our role as adults to teach children the relationship between rights and responsibilities. If your child challenges you with knowledge of their rights in a way that is inappropriate, be heartened this is a normal part of learning the difference between rights, needs, and wants.

A child may want a sweet snack and say that they have the right to food. This is an example of a child being confused with their wants and rights. This is an opportunity to talk about how being a parent means that you have the responsibility to look out for their well-being, and spoiling a dinner appetite would not serve in upholding their rights.

How can I support the rights of my child at home? As with most things, the learning of rights, respect, and responsibility begins at home. Children learn what they see and hear.

By becoming involved in your child’s learning and showing an interest in who he/she is and what he/she is doing, you help your child learn the importance of giving and sharing with others.

Here are some tips:

  • Set boundaries, routines, and rules. Children need to know what is expected of them. Having clear expectations also makes it easier to reward the child for goodbehaviour and let them learn what behaviours aren’t respectful.
  • Give your child choices rather than commands. For example, ‘Would you like to brush your teeth before you get your pajamas on or after?’ This empowers children and avoids a power struggle.
  • If your child interrupts you, you can balance their right to be heard with their responsibility to let others be heard by saying ‘I know you have something important to say. I want to listen. Please wait until I’m finished so I can give you all of my attention.’
  • Ignore unwanted behaviours and reward wanted behaviours. Children sometimes misbehave to get attention. Ignore misbehaviours unless someone is getting hurt. Give your child attention for good behaviours and you encourage your child to repeat them. When you need to respond to misbehaviour use a time-out or take away a privilege.
  • Criticize the behaviour, not the child. Explain what you don’t like about the behaviour and why you don’t like it. Avoid criticizing the child. For example, ‘When you leave your coat on the floor it gets dirty and I am afraid someone will trip on it and fall’, rather than saying ‘you are such a messy kid.’
  • Have family meetings. Explain the issues and let everyone discuss the problems together to reach mutually satisfactory solutions to conflicts.

Being a parent is a big job, possibly the toughest job out there! But there are lots of organizations and materials out there to support you!

What do I do if I have questions? Everyone has parenting questions and nobody is a perfect parent. That’s why we love BC Council for Families parenting programs. You can learn all about them at www.bccf.ca. They provide free, non-judgmental parenting programs for parents with children of all ages.

In these courses you will learn about;

  1. Effective ways to discipline
  2. How to keep your child safe on the internet
  3. Resolving conflicts
  4. How to talk about puberty and relationships, and more!

We also recommend checking out BC 211. This is a listing of community organizations from every stripe. If you have a particular concern or challenge as a parent, search BC 211 to find organizations that might be able to support you.

Talking to other parents: The Power of Networking

A recent project in Richmond talked to low-income parents about what it’s like to get by and provide for their families without a lot of income. During the parent interviews it became clear that the best resources available out there for parents are other parents.

The parents were full of ideas on where to find the best deals on bikes, shoes, who has the best value on produce, where to go for the best parenting classes, and more.

Never hesitate to learn from fellow parents or share an incredible resource you’ve discovered without judgment.

This not only builds community, but it grows the collective strength of parents to be the best parents we can be for our children.

Many schools are teaching students about their rights, which is fantastic! But we know from parents that when their children learn about their rights, parents find it challenging to have a rights-based conversation in the home if parents themselves are not empowered with the knowledge of their children’s rights. Our articles are geared towards parents and dispel the common myths around children’s rights and in fact, empower parents as their child’s best advocate. We give suggestions for teaching and guiding children in those teachable moments so that parents do not have to be challenged by their children’s rights, but rather be their child’s ally as they learn about their rights.

SCYofBC_Image_34

We think your kid is pretty special. Without having even met your young one we can say that with some certainty, because we know for sure that your child and their classmates are among the first children in human history to enjoy their entire lives as rights holders.

The rights your child enjoys are outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which Canada ratified in 1991. All children under the age of 18 are guaranteed the right to life, survival, and development; to have their best interests looked after, to be meaningfully engaged, all without discrimination of any kind. There are 54 articles in the convention and they can be sorted under 4 basic pillars:

1) the right to be safe

2) the right to be healthy

3) the right to be heard

4) the right to be yourself

The UNCRC marks an amazing change in the way we view children and childhood. For example, during the industrial revolution children were expected to work in dangerous conditions. Kids were often viewed by society as a nuisance, and were merely small, future adults. We now understand how precious and important childhood is.

The UNCRC represents one of the most thorough and well-researched documents on what makes a healthy child. It balances protecting children from harm, acknowledges childhood vulnerability, but also recognizes children as capable humans who can and must have a say in matters that affect them. These rights ensure that children will not only have a healthy childhood but at each stage of their development will learn the tools to leading a successful life in adulthood, all with the help of an adult community who are looking after their best interest.

This year we are pleased to let you know that during this school year, your child will be learning about their rights, in the classroom and at home with you. They will learn about their rights and responsibilities—both as a child and as a global citizen. Throughout the year we will occasionally send home short and engaging homework assignments for parents and children to do together. We will also continually provide you with supports and information. Check back here for the rest of the school year for new articles and information to support you as a parent.

A common concern around child rights is that children will interpret their rights irresponsibly and want a “right”.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children is an amazing document that gives children protections and provisions that children previously in history have not benefitted from.

For example Article 12 of the UNCRC says that children have the right to express their views in matters that affect them, but this does NOT give kids authority over adults. The article is about encouraging all adults (not just parents) to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making.

When you involve children in decision-making in a way that is appropriate to a child’s level of maturity, you are modeling decision-making skills that will help them throughout their lives. Regularly invite children into family decision-making that is appropriate for their age.

For example, when you are deciding where your family will spend holiday time, invite your child into your decision making process. They will benefit from learning how you make your decision. Will you travel by air or car? Is your destination safe? Does everyone in the family have appropriate clothing for the climate where you’re travelling? Will there be a budget for the trip. Having your child involved in these types of decisions helps them learn what goes into planning and sound decision-making. This is an opportunity to give your child a say in family affairs. This doesn’t mean that they will get to plan the family holiday, but rather they get to participate.

Children and youth also have the right to be involved in legal matters. Parents, social workers, immigration workers, judges, lawyers, and teachers are also obligated to consult children on matters that affect them to help make decisions that are in the best interest.

At the end of the day, it’s about children getting a say, not getting their way and valuing the capacity of children to be a meaningful part of the world around them.

At our school we teach children about their rights because it helps them succeed in school and in life. When children learn about their rights research* finds:

• There is a decline in bullying and less classroom disruption

• Children demonstrate more positive conflict resolution skills with their peers and with adults

• Children show greater concern for themselves, each other and children in other parts of the world

• Children are more likely to use higher order thinking**

• Children are less likely to be excluded

• Children are more likely to attend school

• Children learn the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, both as a Canadian and as a global citizen who contributes positively to the world

(adapted from UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Brochure)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that children, as well as adults, know about the rights described within it. Schools are the logical place to reach the vast majority of children.

Does teaching children’s rights take time away from other classes? No. Children’s rights are not taught as a separate course. The children’s rights curriculum blends with existing classes in social studies, health, and personal development. Some teachers have also adapted the activities for use in math and other classes.

What are children learning about their rights? Children learn what the rights are, the difference between rights and wants, and how to uphold (respect) the rights of others. This can be taught in different ways depending on the child’s grade. The goal of the children’s rights curriculum achieving their potential and being responsible citizens.

*According to the research of Katherine Covell and Brian Howe, researchers at the Children’s Rights Centre at Cape Breton University

**Higher order thinking means thinking outside of the box. It means connecting ideas, making predictions, and evaluations. One way you can help encourage higher order thinking is to ask your child questions while you read or watch TV together. Instead of asking “what colour was Billy’s hair” you can ask, “why do you think Billy behaved that way?” or “what would you do in that situation” or “do you think that commercial we just watched is making true claims?”

We gratefully acknowledge Drs. Covell and Howe for their research and contributions to this article. 

We’ve shared with you a lot about the rights of children but what about the specific rights of parents?

Fears about rights. For parents, it’s a common fear that children, armed with the knowledge that they have rights will use the knowledge like a weapon and try to use their rights “against” their parents.

It’s about respect. Rest assured, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child repeatedly upholds the important role parents have in the lives of children and says that governments must respect the responsibility of parents for providing guidance to their children.

Specifically, the Convention supports:

  • Parents/caregivers in raising their children. (Article 5)
  • Child connecting with their nationality, name and family (Article 8.1)
  • How important it is for children to be raised by their parents whenever possible. (Article 7.1)
  • Parents to guide the religious development of their children. (Article 14)
  • The responsibility both parents have in raising their children. (Article 18)

It’s about respect. The Convention is clear that children have the responsibility to respect the rights of others. Children tend to understand this. If they want their rights respected, they know they must also respect the rights of others. One of the aims of a child rights education is the development of respect for everyone and their values and culture.

As human beings we all have rights and with those rights come responsibilities. When it comes to children’s rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child outlines the following responsibilities:

For children: the responsibility to respect the rights of others.

For parents: to respect and provide for the rights of their children.

For governments: to support families and to respect and provide for the rights of children through laws, policies and special programs.

Here’s a helpful chart to help you have conversations with your child about their rights and responsibilities.

Be Safe

The right to be safe means I need:

  • Protection from harm, including protection from discrimination
  • To be treated with respect
  • At least 5 adults who love me

My right to be safe gives me the responsibility to:

  • Know who I can ask for help
  • Follow the rules
  • Be aware of my surroundings
  • Take care of the things around me
  • Help others

Be Healthy

The right to be healthy means I need to:

  • Play and be active
  • Learn and find out things
  • Spend time in nature
  • Spend time with family and my friends
  • Receive the best health care possible, including special help if I need it

My right to be healthy gives me the responsibility to:

  • Play safely and play fair
  • Take care of my body and let it rest
  • Use my words when I am upset
  • Keep my community, home, and school clean
  • Make good choices about what I eat

Be Heard

My right to be heard means I need to:

  • Have a say (not my way) in decisions that affect me
  • Be listened to, and be taken seriously
  • Ask for, and receive help
  • Learn about my rights

My right to be heard gives me the responsibility to:

  • Honour my commitments
  • Cooperate with others
  • Be honest and respectful
  • Apologize when I make a mistake

Be Yourself

the right to be myself means I need to:

  • Have my own thoughts, feelings, and reasonable privacy
  • Express my ideas respectfully
  • Learn about mine and others’ culture, history, and religion
  • Be allowed to make mistakes
  • Be who I am!

My right to be myself gives me the responsibility to:

  • Respect the thoughts, feelings, and reasonable privacy of others
  • Be welcoming of others, especially those who need extra help
  • Try new things
  • Learn from my mistakes

When rugs become deep seas, wood chips become shark teeth, and a pair of pants becomes the body of a snake, you have the foundation of free play. Free play is spontaneous, self-motivated, and totally controlled by children. It is also a key right of every child to have time to play and rest (article 31).

Why is play so important? Free play provides rich opportunities for social, moral, and emotional development. It provides unique opportunities for kids to develop their own personality and increase their ability to handle stress and conflict. It is in free play that children learn to understand and co-operate with others. Free play may be the best way for children to truly express themselves and learn the skills they need for success in life.

Does free play make my child smarter? Yes! Neuroscientists tell us that free play creates new pathways in the brain that expand creative and intellectual capabilities.

Scientists have also found that children who participate in free play tend to be more intelligent, more creative, and happier than children who do not participate in free, unstructured play.

How do I support play? As an adult, it is your job to create opportunities for free play. It’s important to support your child rather than direct your child.

This can mean taking your child outside into all kinds of different natural environments. It can mean letting them interact with new friends, providing non-traditional play equipment (like hay stacks, milk crates, logs, mud, etc.) that will challenge your child.

It’s also important to keep in mind that organized sports and music lessons cannot be confused with play. These are activities that are organized and directed by adults. Organized activities definitely have their own benefits, but they can never replace the vital benefits of free play.

It is the nature of children to question and challenge, but it is our role as adults to teach children the relationship between rights and responsibilities. If your child challenges you with knowledge of their rights in a way that is inappropriate, be heartened this is a normal part of learning the difference between rights, needs, and wants.

A child may want a sweet snack and say that they have the right to food. This is an example of a child being confused with their wants and rights. This is an opportunity to talk about how being a parent means that you have the responsibility to look out for their well-being, and spoiling a dinner appetite would not serve in upholding their rights.

How can I support the rights of my child at home? As with most things, the learning of rights, respect, and responsibility begins at home. Children learn what they see and hear.

By becoming involved in your child’s learning and showing an interest in who he/she is and what he/she is doing, you help your child learn the importance of giving and sharing with others.

Here are some tips:

  • Set boundaries, routines, and rules. Children need to know what is expected of them. Having clear expectations also makes it easier to reward the child for goodbehaviour and let them learn what behaviours aren’t respectful.
  • Give your child choices rather than commands. For example, ‘Would you like to brush your teeth before you get your pajamas on or after?’ This empowers children and avoids a power struggle.
  • If your child interrupts you, you can balance their right to be heard with their responsibility to let others be heard by saying ‘I know you have something important to say. I want to listen. Please wait until I’m finished so I can give you all of my attention.’
  • Ignore unwanted behaviours and reward wanted behaviours. Children sometimes misbehave to get attention. Ignore misbehaviours unless someone is getting hurt. Give your child attention for good behaviours and you encourage your child to repeat them. When you need to respond to misbehaviour use a time-out or take away a privilege.
  • Criticize the behaviour, not the child. Explain what you don’t like about the behaviour and why you don’t like it. Avoid criticizing the child. For example, ‘When you leave your coat on the floor it gets dirty and I am afraid someone will trip on it and fall’, rather than saying ‘you are such a messy kid.’
  • Have family meetings. Explain the issues and let everyone discuss the problems together to reach mutually satisfactory solutions to conflicts.

Being a parent is a big job, possibly the toughest job out there! But there are lots of organizations and materials out there to support you!

What do I do if I have questions? Everyone has parenting questions and nobody is a perfect parent. That’s why we love BC Council for Families parenting programs. You can learn all about them at www.bccf.ca. They provide free, non-judgmental parenting programs for parents with children of all ages.

In these courses you will learn about;

  1. Effective ways to discipline
  2. How to keep your child safe on the internet
  3. Resolving conflicts
  4. How to talk about puberty and relationships, and more!

We also recommend checking out BC 211. This is a listing of community organizations from every stripe. If you have a particular concern or challenge as a parent, search BC 211 to find organizations that might be able to support you.

Talking to other parents: The Power of Networking

A recent project in Richmond talked to low-income parents about what it’s like to get by and provide for their families without a lot of income. During the parent interviews it became clear that the best resources available out there for parents are other parents.

The parents were full of ideas on where to find the best deals on bikes, shoes, who has the best value on produce, where to go for the best parenting classes, and more.

Never hesitate to learn from fellow parents or share an incredible resource you’ve discovered without judgment.

This not only builds community, but it grows the collective strength of parents to be the best parents we can be for our children.

Child Rights Homework Assignments

These homework assignments enable parents to learn about child rights along side their children. As such, they provide a starting point to discuss rights and responsibilities, generate ideas on how to create a more rights respecting environment in the home, and provides children with the opportunity to share their opinions.

Each homework assignment is divided into three themes.

Thank you to the children, parents, teachers and administrators at Cape Horn Elementary School and Chartwell Elementary School and the staff of UNICEF Canada, whose time, ideas, and feedback were immensely helpful in creating these resources.

1) Wants versus needs (What is the difference between Wants and Needs: Categorizing and matching)

One of the key challenges in teaching children and youth about their rights is distinguishing the difference between what your rights are and what your wants are. These activities are designed for families to explore the topic together.

Want or Need: for Grades K–1
Want or Need: for Grade 2
Want or Need: for Grades 3–4
Want or Need: for Grade 5
Want or Need: for Grades 6–7

2) Responsibilities (Creating a Home Charter as a family)

This is an activity where the entire family participates in creating a Home Charter.

Home Charter

3) Best Interests/Play (Activity: Parent interviews)

Children told us that one of the two rights they feel are most ignored by their parents is the right to free play. One of the most powerful ways to talk about play is to have parents and children think about it together and ask parents and guardians to reflect on their own experiences playing as kids. These activities are designed to open that conversation at home.

For Kindergarten to Grade 2: Parent Interviews
For Grades 3 & 4: Parent Interviews
For Grades 5–7: Parent Interviews

Child and Youth Friendly Communities Resources

children-1138682

Child and Youth Friendly Communities seek to fulfill children’s rights in the spaces that affect them the most. The following toolkits are meant to help municipalities and community groups to assess their communities and plan for more rights-respecting environments for young people.

Child and Youth Friendly Online Toolkit

SCY has updated and re-launched our original Child and Youth Friendly Communities Toolkit online. On the site, you will see 18 different domains, a rationale as to why each domain is important for children and youth, how they link back to child rights, an ideas bank, and an assessment tool.

Making Your Community More Child and Youth Friendly: Focusing on the Early Years

A community self-assessment tool to help community groups address the question, “How child and youth friendly is my community?” Based on six guiding principles, the tool is broken into 17 different domains that affect the lives of young people. These include housing, close to home, parks and open spaces, schools, transportation, workplaces, and the media. $20 for a print copy.

DOWNLOAD
Aboriginal Child Friendly Communities Toolkit: Inclusion of the Early Years

This Aboriginal Toolkit Project is a resource for Aboriginal organizations and communities to support groups and communities in determining its effectiveness in being inclusive and child-friendly. The target age range for this project is 0 to 6 year olds; however, the toolkit can be helpful for all ages, families, and communities across cultures. $30 for a print copy.

DOWNLOAD
Making Space for Children: Rethinking and Re-creating Children’s Play Environments

This award-winning booklet reminds us of the importance of children’s play and our role as adults in providing play opportunities. It will be particularly useful for those who are thinking of creating or improving a children’s play environment. It discusses the child’s right and need to play and the forces that influence their play opportunities. It covers how adults can effectively facilitate children’s play and provides practical guidance on how to move from inspiration to action. $20 for a print copy.

DOWNLOAD

Multilingual Resources

SCYofBC_Image_22

We have developed child and youth rights advocacy materials for different immigrant and newcomer communities throughout the province. The materials have been written for adults in their roles as caregivers and provide information on how to become a skilled advocate for children and youth, and how to help inform children and youth of their rights.

Basic Child Rights Information

This background information is meant to provide a starting point for those from different immigrant and newcomer communities who wish to learn more about children’s rights.

Basic Child Rights Information

This background information is meant to provide a starting point for those from different immigrant and newcomer communities who wish to learn more about children’s rights.

UNCRC Guiding Principles Multilingual Posters

Supporting the rights of children and youth is as easy as 1-2- 3-4! Our posters on the four guiding principles of the UNCRC highlight the key rights of the Convention: Non-discrimination; the right to life, survival, and development; promoting the best interests of children and youth; and respecting the views of children and youth.

These resources have been developed for different language communities in B.C., and include Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, French, and Punjabi. Click on the links below to print out a poster in a language of your choosing, or contact us for poster pricing and shipping!

Your Child’s Rights: Multilingual Brochures

Why should I teach my child about their rights? Don’t children’s rights take away my authority as a parent? Don’t children backtalk adults when they learn about their rights?

These are questions we hear all the time from parents. They are totally legitimate questions and deserve thoughtful responses. We teamed up with Drs. Katherine Covell and Brian Howe who are both Child Rights experts AND parents to help answer some of these questions.

These informative and empowering resources are currently available in legal-sized brochure format in French, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Punjabi and Korean. Print out the brochures below, or contact us for pricing and shipping!

Youth Resources

SCYofBC_Image_BMX

As youth transition from childhood to adulthood, become more independent, and begin to take on more responsibility, it is important that they learn about their rights. These articles are designed for youth to learn about issues that can affect their health, wellbeing, and safety.

 Youth and Access to Healthcare in BC

Youth have unique challenges that need to be taken into account in order to provide effective healthcare. This article explores the challenges youth face in the healthcare system and what youth and healthcare professionals can do to ensure young people receive the care they need.

Youth Right to Participation

The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child has described being given a voice in matters that affect them, as a fundamental right for all those under 19 years of age. But, what opportunities exist for youth participation in everyday life?

The Right to Safety and Shelter

Access to shelter is a basic human right for young people enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, yet there are hundreds of youth living on the streets in Vancouver and across the province. This article examines the barriers many homeless youth face in attempting to achieve independence and safe housing.

Youth Rights in the Workplace

In 2003, BC lowered the working age from 15 to 12 and reduced protections for young workers. How much do young people know about their rights in the workplace in BC?