Did you know that there’s a special day, celebrated annually, just for children? Beginning in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day, then later as World Children’s Day, people all over the world come together on November 20 to promote international togetherness, improving children's well-being and awareness of children’s rights.
November 20 was chosen as it’s on this day in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the day in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
What is National Child Day?
In Canada, we recognize November 20 as National Child Day and have done so since 1993, two years after Canada ratified (meaning to sign or give formal consent to) the CRC. By doing so, the government of Canada promised to ensure that all Canadian children have rights – including the right to access healthcare, to be protected from harm, to have a voice and many, many more.
UNICEF Canada believes that National Child Day is about celebrating children and young people as active participants in their own lives and in communities, and as active citizens who can and should contribute to decision-making. It is a day for children, by children.
How can I take part in National Child Day?
1) Attend UNICEF Canada’s virtual event
Join us on National Child Day to hear from young activists on education, mental health, Indigenous sovereignty, climate change, democracy and systemic racism and discuss how we can reimagine a better Canada together. It’s an online event open to children, youth and adult allies who want to help #TakeBackTheFuture for young people in Canada! Click here to register now >>
2) Host a Kids Takeover
Maybe your office or workplace is still working remotely but that doesn’t mean you can’t invite a child or youth to ‘take over’ for the day. Have them host a town hall with your staff, give them control of your social media channels, conduct an advisory panel with children and young people from your community. Parents, you can even have your kids ‘take over’ at home – what would they want to do if they were in charge of running the house for a day?
Check out our Kids Takeover Toolkit for more ideas, or watch our informative video with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Millie Bobby Brown and Lilly Singh below.
3) Turn your world blue
For National Child Day, UNICEF Canada is turning the country blue, with monuments from coast to coast lighting up blue in recognition of children’s rights. Is there a monument or building in your hometown that will be turning blue? Check the list below and stay tuned as we add more locations in:
- Toronto, ON
- Niagara Falls, ON
- Calgary, AB
- Edmonton, AB
- Lethbridge, AB
- Vancouver, BC
Going blue isn’t just limited to things like the CN Tower or Niagara Falls though! To recognize and celebrate children’s rights on November 20, you can dress all in blue, turn your Zoom or Google Hangouts/Classroom background blue, or check out our new Instagram filter to speak out and share your thoughts on children’s rights in Canada.
4) Learn about child rights
We mentioned a few of the rights that children have as defined in the CRC – including the right to protection and the right to be heard – but did you know that the CRC contains 54 individual articles? That’s a lot of rights; just as it should be.
To help children (and adults) understand the rights and protections afforded to them by the CRC, UNICEF Canada has condensed all 54 articles into child-friendly language. Click here to learn more >>
5) Defend children’s right to a childhood
November 20 isn’t just National Child Day – internationally it’s known as World Children’s Day and is celebrated in countries all around the world. By donating to UNICEF Canada, you’ll be helping to defend every child’s right to a childhood and to a future. This National Child Day/World Children’s Day, empower them to change their communities and the world. Donate now >>
Children’s rights in Canada don’t begin and end with National Child Day. Every day UNICEF Canada’s One Youth team is collecting data, designing solutions, collaborating with young people and influencing decision-makers. Their mission? To make Canada the number one country in the world for children and young people to grow up in. Learn more by visiting the One Youth site today >>