What would babies say about World Children’s Day?

What would babies say about World Children’s Day?

By Kerrie Gottliebsen

Today Tweddle celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and World Children’s Day. November 20th is an important date and global day of action. It was on this day in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

If they could speak, what would babies say about World Children’s Day? Tweddle advocates for babies and toddlers to give them a voice in the context of their relationships and with policy makers. Whilst babies can’t verbalise their feelings, their body language speaks volumes. Many stressed, overwhelmed and anxious parents however need well-funded services that help them to understand and respond to their child’s unique language, which in turn builds secure attachment.

Infants and toddlers might be silent, but their language conveys a lot. It says; I need you, I love you, I am scared, I am worried, I see you are worried. I don’t feel safe, I need a break, I feel safe, I feel loved, I need more, I am stressed, I am hungry, I am tired, I am happy.

Early caregiving relationships are where children learn powerful non-verbal messages about the self and others in relationships. They learn about trusting others, how to manage anxiety and other strong emotions and how to balance the needs for autonomy, vulnerability and closeness.

Poor attachment leads to poor social and physical development and behavioural problems. Often this can lead to child maltreatment and then the whole destructive cycle can be played out again by the next generation of parents who have known no better themselves.

This World Children’s Day, we think babies would say very loudly to policy makers; invest in us because we are the adults of tomorrow. We are the future.

According to the Wave Trust, there is general expert consensus that it is somewhere between economically worthwhile and imperative to invest more heavily, as a proportion of both local and national spend, in the very earliest months and years of life.

Every approach – even the most cautious and circumspect in its recommendations – finds that returns on investment on well-designed early years’ interventions significantly exceed their costs.

The Harvard Center on the Developing Child (2007, 2010) states that although the large number of children and families who could benefit from additional assistance will require significant increases in funding, extensive research indicates that investment in high quality interventions will generate substantial future returns. This is through increased taxes paid by more productive adults, significant reductions in public expenditure on welfare assistance, incarceration and on remedial programs for adults with limited workforce skills.

People who experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as children often end up trying to raise their own children in households where ACEs are more common. Such a cycle of childhood adversity can lock successive generations of families into poor health and anti-social behaviour for generations. Equally however, preventing ACEs in a single generation or reducing their impacts can benefit not only those children but also future generations.

Tweddle’s services continue to build resilience, strengthen attachment and help parents identify and get support and healing for early adversity thus reducing the impacts on babies and toddlers.

‘We are the first generation to have this knowledge at our fingertips. We ignore it at our peril’ (Rowley, 2014)

#WorldChildrensDay #WorldChildrensSay

Visit World Children’s Day for more information.


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