What Kids Want and What Kids Need: YOU

On National Child Day in November, I had the opportunity to hear directly from young people in our city.  We set up booths during the free swim time at YMCA facilities and asked the question: “How would you like to celebrate the day?” I was surprised to hear how many children and youth answered that they just wanted to spend time with their family.

What children and youth are asking for is exactly what research says they need. We know that children develop best in strong, nurturing relationships where their attempts to interact are met with attention and returned, much like serving and returning a ball in a game of tennis.  When children lack these positive interactions, they have less opportunity to develop in critical ways.

As a community, we all have a role to play to ensure children have the environments and experiences they need to help them learn, develop and thrive. Family Day (Monday February 17) is an example of how our community and our public policies are aligned to provide an opportunity to nurture children.

“Family Day was first held in Canada in the province of Alberta in 1990. It is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta, and give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families.”  

Family Day is only a week away, so it is time for me to start thinking about how I would like to spend the day with my family. What is most important to my three-year-old, and to me, is that we spend time together - maybe baking or doing a craft, playing in the snow or checking out the free activities planned at the Alberta Legislature. The gift of time will ensure that we both create wonderful memories, and she has a strong foundation for her future.

I encourage you to join the Family Day Unplugged initiative Disconnect to Connect or check out events and activities taking place in Edmonton on Family Day or consider volunteering in a charity that supports children’s healthy growth and development.

There are so many ways to invest in children, but your time is truly the most precious commodity. Happy Family Day!