First introduced in the year 2000, Children’s Day, or Te rā o ngā Tamariki, has quickly emerged as one of New Zealand’s favourite national holidays. Not only is the first Sunday of March a great excuse to celebrate young Kiwis, but it’s also a day to raise national awareness, build strong communities and explore different perspectives.
With Children’s Day rolling around in a matter of weeks, we’ve put together some tips on how to strengthen bonds with the tamariki in your life, whether they’re toddlers, pre-teens or young adults.
Let them know they matter
Children can often feel like decisions are constantly being made on their behalf, with little to no consultation on what they want. While it’s often for the best, it can leave kids feeling powerless and without a voice. Counteract this by printing out the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and discussing it with the kids in your life.
Shower them with aroha
If you’re not already aware, ‘aroha’ is the Maori word for love, and it couldn’t be more important when it comes to strengthening bonds with kids. Small displays of love and affection will ultimately play a powerful role in building positive relationships and crystallising a sense of trust.
Share a love for music
Do you ever find yourself humming along to songs your parents played when you were a kid and being stuck with nostalgia? Turns out, sharing music can work wonders when it comes to building relationships with kids. The study comes from the University of Arizona, with co-author Professor Jake Harwood claiming, “If you have little kids, and you play music with them, that helps you be closer to them, and later in life will make you closer to them.” Whether you’re schooling your grandkids in the joys of Neil Finn, lip syncing to Lorde or letting your teens introduce you to Flight of the Conchords, a little music goes a long way.
It takes a village to raise a child
While modern family dynamics often take on a nuclear format revolving around a set of parents and their offspring, it’s worth taking cues from traditional Maori child raising traditions, where roles of parenting fell on the whole community. As a grandparent, aunty or even a neighbour you can embrace community-oriented child rearing. It stems from the concept of whanau, a Maori word that describes the creation of a safe, supportive and loving environment for tamariki to grow up in. This helps ensure they have access to different relationships for different occasions. As you get to know them better your responsibilities as a caregiver will become clearer and clearer, and possibly even take on multiple different roles.
How will you be strengthening bonds with your little ones this Te rā o ngā Tamariki?