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Best Ways To Celebrate National Children's Day - Second Sunday in June

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National Children’s Day is coming up this Sunday. And I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t every day children’s day?” If you haven’t thought of that line yet, trust me — my dad used to use it on me.

In fact, the United States hasn’t really had an official National Children’s Day until the National Day Calendar began planning it on the second Sunday in June. Here’s a short history of the holiday and some of the best ways to celebrate it.

History of National Children’s Day.

The history of the holiday actually dates back to the 1850s, according to the National Day Calendar’s website, when Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts, began to use it as a day to baptize children. He called this Rose Day, although it didn’t even seem to stick.

The Mother Nature Network notes that there were a number of local celebrations around the United States beginning in the 1860s. Back in 1995, then-President Bill Clinton signed a bill that made National Children’s Day on Oct. 8 of every year. In 2001, President George W. Bush designated National Child’s Day as the first Sunday in June.

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And to add to all of that confusion, most of the world celebrates Children’s Day on Nov. 20, which is when the United Nations has fixed the date. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has it on May 14, when they commemorate “the importance of a healthy childhood and how we need to protect the rights and freedoms of children in order to ensure that they can grow into happy, healthy adults.” So, in other words, it’s pretty confusing.

We haven’t really started to agree on anything until the last ten years when the state of Illinois began celebrating it on the second Sunday in June. Both the National Day Calendar and the National Children’s Day website — which is the largest group advocating for a wholesale adoption of the holiday — have tagged it as the second Sunday in June, which is pretty close to as universal a declaration you’ll see on the matter unless Washington wants to weigh in again.

So, now that you know the story about it, here are a few ways to celebrate.

1. Celebrate National Children’s Day by cherishing your children.

It sounds so simple — and yet, it hardly ever is. We all love our children. But how many of us have put them on the back burner sometimes? How many of us have gone into the office on weekends to do work, rationalizing over the fact that we’re providing for them? How many of us can say they only know us on the weekends? How many of us try to relax instead of connecting with them? And in so many American households, this can be both parents, too. We all rationalize that we’re doing the best thing for them by earning more, by climbing further up the corporate ladder. But are we?

Yet, when House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he was resigning in April of 2018, the one reason he gave wasn’t the political situation or the stress of the job. It was his kids.

“This is my twentieth year in Congress,” he told a crowd of reporters. “My kids weren’t even born when I was first elected. Our oldest was 13 years old when I became speaker. Now all three of our kids are teenagers. One thing I have learned about teenagers is their idea of an ideal weekend is not necessarily to spend all of their time with their parents. What I realize is if I am here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad. I just can’t let that happen.”

It’s on occasions like this that it’s important to learn how to cherish your children more. Spend time with them this weekend. Do something they’d like. Get to know them better. Bake with them. Teach them something that will stay with them. Talk to them. Learn what’s bothering them and what you can do. We’re not asking you to retire from your position like Paul Ryan. But use National Children’s Day as a sort wake-up call. We could all be better parents, even those of us who have things in perspective.

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2. Celebrate National Children’s Day by donating to a children’s organization.

If you want to take it a step further, there are plenty of great organizations to donate to this National Children’s Day. The Boys & Girls Club of America has always done great work across our country, particularly in working with at-risk youth. The YMCA and YWCA have always done good work, too. Toys for Tots, March of Dimes, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital — all of these would be great places for your money.

If you’re looking for something that you may not have previously donated to, try CASA. A personal favorite of mine, CASA is an acronym for Court-Appointed Special Advocates and the organization “supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive.” A total of 76,000 CASA volunteers help ensure that abused children are found permanent homes. They stay with the case until a suitable home is found — and over 251,000 children found homes through CASA in 2017.

3. Celebrate National Children’s Day by de-digitizing!

Most parents today probably rolled their eyes when their parents told them that cable TV was going to rot their brains and how they only had three channels and used to go outside more. However, the world is a lot different than it was back then, and we’re just beginning to see the research on how smartphones, tablets and other digital devices are affecting our children — be it through literacy, obesity, mental health or any number of factors.

On this National Children’s Day, make it a day to de-digitize. Instead of playing video games, take your kids outdoors — do something fun in your local park or on a hiking trail. Maybe even take them on an impromptu camping trip! Instead of picking up the iPad to read social media, take them to the library or a bookstore and show them some of your favorite books when you were a kid. Instead of playing sports on your phone, play it in the yard.

Maybe you can start a tradition to de-digitize for National Children’s Day. And who knows? Perhaps your kids will like it so much they’ll take it up on their own — and they’ll be happier and healthier for it. After all, didn’t we all feel better when we turned off another “Saved By the Bell” rerun after more nagging and went out to play some basketball?

Those are just three ways you can celebrate National Children’s Day this year. Or you can come up with your own way! Whatever you do, be sure to keep your children and children in general — and what’s best for them — at the fore of your thinking. If you do, you can’t lose.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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