Jamaicans are being called on to create a safe and nurturing environment for children where they are empowered to be their best selves.
Government Senator Natalie Campbell Rodriques made the call while addressing the recent sitting of the Senate, in recognition of Child Month.
Child Month is being observed in May under the theme ‘Children Need our Love and Protection… Get Involved’.
“We need to show children that someone cares about them. This call to action this year is a reminder that the well-being of this group of persons in our society is quite important. Our children need to feel safe, healthy, and empowered to be their best selves, and to do so, we need to create a safe and nurturing environment,” the Senator argued.
She said the theme is a call for action for individuals and groups to do right by the nation’s children.
“We can say I love you to our children. Surprisingly, a lot of children in Jamaica do not hear the words. Let kids feel free to say no… . Ensure children understand how to set boundaries. Hug our children, as they need affection. We need to teach our children to be comfortable in confiding in us. Be that space where our children can feel comfortable in telling us what is happening to them and feeling safe to do so,” she added.
Meanwhile, Opposition Senator Gabriela Morris urged adults to take an active role, inculcating positive values and attitudes in the lives of children.
“Do not leave the children up to their own devices, but take an active role in shaping their lives, in guiding and moulding their future. It is our duty as adults to ensure that children are safe from harm, that they have the resources they need to thrive and that they are treated with respect and dignity,” she said.
Senator Morris suggested that Child Month should be used as an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to the well-being of the nation’s children.
“This could simply look like mentoring a child, hugging a child… talking to our children. Let us take concrete steps to show them that they are valued and protected. I believe that by working together, we can indeed create a society where every child has the chance to grow and to thrive,” she said.
Some of the activities for the Month include Read Across Jamaica Day, which will be observed on Tuesday, May 9; National Children’s Day, Friday, May 19; National Day of Prayer for Children, on Wednesday, May 24; and National Child and Adolescent Mental Health Awareness Day, on Thursday, May 25.