We can no longer afford to ignore the current state of childhood. The long-term effects of an unhealthy childhood will weaken societies that need creative and compassionate individuals with mature insights who are able to solve complex human problems. Current conditions pose a threat to childhood, and the need to address them is urgent. The Decade for Childhood, a 10-year initiative to explore what is eroding in childhood and to create new opportunities for childhood's future, provides opportunities for individuals and organizations to disseminate knowledge, consider best policies and practices, and support a global conversation about childhood.
We hope an enlightened view of childhood can emerge that will serve as a foundation for actions to support the spirit of childhood in the healthiest, most vibrant and creative ways possible. The Ten Pillars of a Good Childhood below can be a good starting point.
Ten Pillars of a Good Childhood
- Safe and secure places for living, with learning and access to health care, clothing, and nutritious food
- Strong families and loving, consistent caregivers
- Social interactions and friendships
- Creative play and physical activity
- Appreciation and stewardship of the natural environment
- Creative expression through music, dance, drama, and the other arts
- Education that develops the full capacities of the child—cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and ethical
- Supportive, nurturing, child-friendly communities
- Growing independence and decision making
- Children and youth participating in community life.
We would like to hear your opinions about childhood today, and how to best guide policies and practices related to the experience of childhood. What supports children—and ultimately all of us—in creating strong relationships, a healthy environment, and opportunities for lifelong growth and learning; and how do we make these a normal part of every child's life? Please use the comments section below to contribute to this important discussion. Also visit our Decade for Childhood pages here to learn more.