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Children have the right to speak

Every child has the right to be listened to and to have their opinions taken seriously when decisions are being made about their lives. It’s important that adults take the time to listen to children’s views, and work with children to find the best way to solve problems they may face in their lives. There are lots of ways that you can help support the rights of children to speak up and have their say.

  • Children’s views should be respected and taken into account, but remember just because children get a say, doesn’t mean they always get their way. Adults still have a responsibility to keep children safe and help them thrive.
  • Ask children in your care about their opinions on things such as what they like and don’t like, what they think is important (e.g. with activities, environments, routines, staff who work with them) etc.
  • Stop and listen to children when they are talking to you.
  • Believe children when they tell you something important.
  • Show them that you have heard what they have said and tell them how you will act on it.
  • Be an advocate for children if necessary or help them to share their views.
  • Have meetings that include children and young people (this can be done at family level, or as part of a social group, child care centre, school, club or organisation).
  • Stand up for children if you see that they are not being heard.
  • Do activities with children where they have the opportunity to share their ideas in ways that are fun and age appropriate. For example, NAPCAN’s Children’s Voices Activity www.napcan.org.au/childrensweek
  • Learn more about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and talk to children about their rights. A fun activity is to show children the child-friendly version of the rights and talk to them about which ones they think are more important and why. www.napcan.org.au/childrensweek

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