UNICEF HK Champions free play for every child Survey reveals 84 per cent of Hong Kong parents lack knowledge on children’s free play


UNICEF HK Champions free play for every child Survey reveals 84 per cent of Hong Kong parents lack knowledge on children’s free play

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© UNICEF HK/2018

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© UNICEF HK/2018

HONG KONG, 25 March 2018 –The Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) today launched “for every child, #EatPlayLove”. Organized in association with East Point City, it is an initiative in support of UNICEF’s global campaign early childhood development.

At the kick-off ceremony, UNICEF HK announced the results of a survey on local parents’ knowledge of children’s free play. The survey revealed that many parents did not have a full understanding of the issue. Also, under the witness of renowned actor Mr. Andy Lau, BBS, MH, JP, several child representatives expressed their vision of Hong Kong becoming a child-friendly city before the Hon. Matthew Cheung, GBM, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR.

In February 2018, UNICEF HK conducted an online survey about local parents’ knowledge on children’s free play. It successfully interviewed 1,029 parents and found out 98 per cent of parents surveyed believed that free play is crucial to children’s early development. Yet, almost 84 per cent of parents surveyed had misunderstanding of free play. Over half of the parents surveyed indicated that the free play time of their children included games with electronic devices; this is a serious misconception.

In addition, in one-child families, 57 per cent of the children did not have playmates. It is worth noting that quality child-parent interactions and recreational time are key to children’s healthy development in their early years, and this includes their brain development. Moreover, families and communities are common play spaces for children (80 per cent of the responses). As such, enhancement to children’s play experience at home and in the community would be highly conducive to children’s healthy development.

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© UNICEF HK/2018

According to the UNICEF publication titled Early Moments Matter for Every Child, nutrition (eat), stimulation (play) and parental and nurturing care (love) are the most critical in the first 1,000 days of life. “for every child, #EatPlayLove” aims to promote the awareness of early childhood development in Hong Kong, and the response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. As soon as the information was published on the UNICEF HK website, parents wasted no time to sign up for the free play activities.

“Play is a fundamental right of children. It not only makes children happy but also promotes their healthy development. ‘for every child, #EatPlayLove’ provides a great opportunity for local families where children can explore freely and enjoy all the fun associated with play in an environment filled with imagination. On the other hand, parents and guardians can learn more about early childhood development and give their children a good start in life by playing with them and participating in workshops and sharing sessions. By joining hands with the Government and all sectors of the community, we, at UNICEF HK, hope to see that children’s play time, play opportunity and play space can be improved at family and community levels,” said Ms. Judy Chen, JP, Chairman of UNICEF HK.

“Family-friendly policies and facilities are, among many measures, key to enabling working parents and caregivers to provide proper care and love for their children,” continued Ms. Chen.

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© UNICEF HK/2018

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© UNICEF HK/2018

Every child deserves a fair chance to survive and thrive, and it can only be achieved through proper nutrition, safe environment, stimulation to learn and care and protection, irrespective of gender, race, socio-economic status, religion and nationalities. UNICEF HK looks to the Government’s support to alleviate grassroots and disadvantaged families as it takes the campaign forward by way of easing their economic pressures in parenting, so that their parenting experience and knowledge could be enriched.

UNICEF HK, in its earlier statement, welcomed the establishment of a Commission on Children and expected that the Commission would gradually take Hong Kong forward to become a child-friendly city with children being put at the heart of the Government’s policy-making process. In particular, UNICEF HK believes that the Commission would be in the best position to lead and implement five key early childhood development initiatives, and galvanize support from all sectors in the community towards success. The initiatives are:

  1. Increase and improve recreational facilities in the community;
  2. Work with employees in developing family-friendly policies and measures;
  3. Enhance the role of full-time caregivers in nurturing care for families;
  4. Assist marginalized families in knowledge and resources in parenting and nurturing care; and
  5. Promote public awareness of the importance of early childhood development.

“Play is the window to children’s inner world. It is the source of their happiness in developing their potential. The Government welcomes and appreciates UNICEF HK for providing suggestions on Commission on Children. I will work for every child and youth in enabling their healthy development to the fullest potential,” said The Hon. Matthew Cheung, GBM, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR.

Mr. Andy Lau, BBS, MH, JP who cares deeply about child development and for the future of Hong Kong, also participated in the kick-off ceremony. Apart from sharing his thoughts on free play and children’s healthy development, he also witnessed the child representatives’ action as he supported the idea of making Hong Kong a caring society for children. “Every child has different abilities and needs. We need to make sure that they can reach their full potential and grow up healthy,” said Mr. Lau.

“for every child, #EatPlayLove” is currently underway at East Point City, and it will run until 15 April. There are four major zones at the venue – Imagination Playground, [email protected], Early Childhood Development Corner and Thematic Workshops – providing children, parents and caregivers a place filled with imagination and comprehensive information on early childhood development.

To help members of the public to understand the importance of early childhood development, activities will be organized according to a particular theme – eat, play or love – every week. In addition, children can explore freely in the Imagination Playground, whereas parents and guardians can gain a deeper understanding on early childhood development through different activities, such as interacting with children, observing how children play, participating in workshops and sharing sessions. We will also distribute leaflets with tips on child-parent interaction, so that parents can understand the relevant theories and implementation methods.  Pre-registration is required for Imagination Playground.  The first batch of pre-registration quota has been quickly filled because of overwhelming public response.  UNICEF HK announced that the second batch of pre-registration will be released at noon on 29 March 2018.

“for every child, #EatPlayLove” is fully supported by Kerry Logistics Network Limited and Pricerite Home Limited.

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Event photos can be downloaded here.

For more information please contact:

Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF

Jamie Wong, Communication Specialist
Tel: 2836 2967