Kids and participation

Join Care.com FREE Today! Today, I'll write on kids participation from the point of view of a mum of two. It's not easy to allow them such liberty, but, tried and tested as often as possible, this approach, gives results and allows the kids to take themselves more seriously.
Children participation can be defined as a well informed and voluntary involvement of children in matters concerning them. Children’s views can offer invaluable insights into childhood, its values and issues. Grownups involved in raising and educating children (I’m talking parents, carers, teachers, nurseries), can benefit from listening and encouraging children to express their views because that knowledge can be used to adapt their behaviour to the needs of the children, therefore increasing the quality of their relationships and the sense of self worth of the child.
50% off Family Fun Near You     Participation from the point of view of a child is having the opportunity to express a view and influence decision making and maybe achieve some desirable change. Children can and should be allowed to decide on issues regarding their immediate personal interests so far as their involvement is well informed and taken seriously.
Grown ups, not only parents, but teachers and others that come in contact with children must be there to listen, to provide guidance, patience and respect, to act where action is necessary and to offer feedback, advice, information. Such attitude is a big step forward from what used to be the dominant ideology only a few decades ago:
 Children should be seen not heard” – that was the main belief in England not too long ago.  It meant children should be seen doing what they are told, and not heard questioning and objecting (according to my grandparents). In those times, and sadly, but less frequently, nowadays, plenty of examples of adults suppressing children’s voices and belittling their protests when they demanded simple things such less rote learning and the abolition of corporal punishment.
Children’s rights
Nowadays, UNCRC recognized children participation as a liberty right along with their rights to provision and protection. These rights overlap. Children should be allowed to participate and get involved in decision making regarding their protection (health, safety) and provision (housing, education) because those are matters that concerns them.
Hart’s thought of a model of participation that can be a useful tool in distinguishing participation from non-participation and exposing bad practice such as tokenism, decoration and manipulation.
Manipulation happens when children, for whatever reasons, are expressing not their own genuine views but those of the influential adults around them.
Decoration is a case when “children take part in an event or activity without understanding the context, issues” implications and purpose (Hart’s Ladder of Participation).
DaisyTrail - the best social crafting community!  Tokenism happens when children are asked for an opinion but they have little choice about how they express it and what impact their answer will have. 
Children’s participation must be appropriate to their age and adapted to the children’s ability. Children’s participation in the decision making process should be  made fun and designed to engage them as much as possible, their input should be taken seriously end encouraged by the adults with plenty of positive feedback.
The ways of encouraging participation of children in matters that concerns them, must carefully selected according to their suitability. For example it is useless to ask small children open questions such as what would they like to have for lunch because they are very likely to ask for crisps and sweets (even when they are well aware that such treats are bad for their health). We, the foods and snacks providers,  should get more involved than that: Set up a participatory activity with the purpose of  deciding on the meals menu for the next week.
NestLearning.com Wordly Wise 3000   Pictures of healthy foods would be given and the kids would be invited to arrange them in order of their preference in a ‘Top Five’. Most participatory activities, in order to work properly must have some ground rules that promote positive communication such as listening to what others are saying and taking turns to speak.
 In the last decade many books have been written on allowing children more space and power in the process of making a decision, whether is in the family, at school, at the kids' club and more. This