Anum Khan is a member of Alpha Alpha Delta Chapter at Saint Peter’s University. She is Kappa Delta Pi’s Youth Representative to the United Nations.
On November 20, I attended a United Nations briefing titled “Children’s Voices in Creating a World Fit for All: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” You can watch a recording of the briefing on the UN’s Web TV channel.
This briefing was very beneficial because it raised some very important questions, the most important of which was, “Are we listening?” Most adults do not take what children say seriously, which is wrong because children have the ability to make a difference. Their voice matters! As adults we have an obligation to consider the rights of children.
Dr. Roseanne Flores, an associate professor of psychology at Hunter College, gave an informing presentation on how adults can support and encourage children’s participation, including:
- Make eye contact;
- Communicate at eye level;
- Show patience when a child is trying to communicate;
- Ask open-ended questions to engage children and encourage a response;
- Provide encouragement so children will speak, participate, and learn to make decisions;
- Develop activities that will allow children to develop a sense of empowerment and leadership skills;
- Ask children their opinion on matters that affect them; and
- Give children age appropriate control and responsibility for their personal care.
These points are extremely useful for educators to apply in their classrooms. It is important for children to know that they are being listened to and what they say matters.
You can read more about KDP’s affiliation with the UN on the KDP website.
* The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty, which establishes the civil, social, political, and economical rights of children.
**Note the Convention on the Rights of the Child has not been ratified in the United States, South Sudan, and Somalia. (Somalia and the United States have signed the document, but have not ratified it)