WHAT WE KNOW:
- Children feel safer when they know the people in their community.
- Children like it when neighbours, shopkeepers or bus drivers say ‘hi’ and smile.
- Social isolation is a big challenge for many families.
- A friendly adult can make a big difference in the life of a child or young person.
- We can all look out for children and make sure they are safe – even if we don’t know them.
- We all have a part to play in creating stronger, happier neighbourhoods for everyone.
HOW YOU CAN PLAY YOUR PART:
- Smile and say hello to people in your neighbourhood, including children and teenagers. Try the Five Smiles a Day Challenge: friendshipproject.com.au/five-smiles-a-day/
- Remember the names of children (and their pets!) and listen to what they have to say. This shows them that they are important and that you care.
- Be a positive role model. NAPCAN’s video Children See, Children Do: napcan.org.au/children-see-children-do/ is a great reminder that children are watching everything we say and do.
- Talk to your neighbours and take the time to build relationships among parents nearby. You can start by asking people how long they have lived in the area or asking parents about their children (e.g. their ages and hobbies) to show that you are interested.
- Swap phone numbers with other families and let them know if you are doing something they could join in with e.g. going to the park to play.
- Parenting is a big job. Offer a helping hand to families in your neighbourhood. For example, offer to pick something up from the shop, watch the children, or bake some food.
- Be kind and supportive to parents rather than judging them. If you see a family that is facing challenges, you may need to ask advice from an expert about what to do. You could start by looking up advice hotlines e.g. Parentline, or Kids Helpline.
- Speak up if you see something that is unsafe e.g. broken equipment, kids playing near traffic, a small child alone, or unsociable behaviour.
- Think about how your neighbourhood could be improved for children and teenagers. Ask them what they like and what they might want to change, and help them advocate to make things better.
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