Neighbours play their part to protect and care for children and young people in our community by supporting and helping each other and working towards a safe and inclusive neighburhood. National Child Protection Week (1 – 7 September) is all about celebrating the many ways – big and small – that everyone in the community can make a difference in the life of a child. Here are some tips from NAPCAN.
- Be a positive role model. Be aware of your behaviour, what you say, how you say it and the way you act Children and young people learn from the people they spend time with, so make your influence positive!
- Build positive relationships with the children and their families in your neighbourhood. Smile, say hello, remember their names and listen to them when needed. This shows young people that they are important in their community, and that you care.
- Talk to your neighbours and take the time to build relationships among parents in your street, apartment building or in your community. Know where your children and young people are and get to know the families that they enjoy visiting.
- Offer to care for your neighbour’s children or practical help – like shopping – to new parents. Offering a helping hand provides an opportunity for parents to rest or spend some time together.
- If everyone in the neighbourhood works together to make protecting children everyone’s business this will increase the circle of people your child knows and can learn from which increases their safety.
- Welcome newcomers, make up a “Welcome Pack” with information on local schools, playgroups, child health centres, kids sporting clubs, music lessons, the closest all night chemist, etc.
- If you’re worried about someone, offer help or recommend where they can access help to strengthen their family’s resilience and resources.
- Care for your neighbourhood. By offering to hold a ‘clean up your street’ day you recognise and share the impact of a clean environment on young people’s wellbeing.
- Get the kids in your street to map your neighbourhood. Talk to them about safety and ask them to identify the places where they don’t feel safe. Let them know that it is the adults’ responsibility to do something about it!
- Include your neighbours in an emergency plan. When something unexpected happens, neighbours are often the people to get assistance from. Involving children and young people in your planning ensures that they feel included and are informed.
- Think about safe and respectful ways to be an active bystander if you see an adult being inappropriate towards a child or young person.
Neighbour Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in March every year with the aim of fostering strong personal connections that last the whole year round. Every day can be neighbour day.The principal aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Neighbours are important because good relationships with others can transform communities. Social connection also makes us feel better as it helps prevent loneliness, isolation and depression. Neighbour Day brings together like-minded people, resources, and organisations to grow stronger, well connected communities. And make us all feel better about the world!
Neighbour Day is managed by Relationships Australia.