Why Doesn't the U.S. Have a Children's Day?

Children's Day wouldn't need to be about stuff; it could be a day to celebrate the simple joy of being a kid. (Photo: Pressmaster/Shutterstock)

Ask any parent that question and you'll get a sideways look and this likely reply: "Every day is Children's Day."

And while that's true, it's odd that a country so married to celebrating special days — Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents Day — doesn't set one aside for children.

Children's Days Around the World

The concept of Children's Day isn't new, of course. In the United States, local Children's Day celebrations date to the 1860s. For the past 10 years, the state of Illinois has declared the second Sunday in June as Children's Day. The cities of Aurora, Illinois, Batavia, Illinois, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Vancouver, have issued similar proclamations, according to the National Children's Day website, which is pushing for a national kids' holiday.

Countries from Argentina to Zambia have national holidays that recognize and celebrate the role of children in society. In the U.K. National Children's Day (May 14) is all about "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." Japan has celebrated Children's Day on May 5th since 1948 as a day to respect children's personalities and celebrate their happiness. Canada, Egypt and Finland celebrate a National Children's Day on Nov. 20, in conjunction with the international holiday, Universal Children's Day, set aside by the United Nations to recognize the rights of children around the world.

So Why Doesn't the U.S. Have a National Children's Day?

Sure, the idea of yet another holiday focused on buying toys and trinkets for kids may not sound appealing. In the U.S., that's just what Children's Day might become.

Still, the idea of celebrating the role that children play in our society is a good one, especially from an environmental perspective. A reminder that we borrow the Earth from our children might force us to look at issues like climate change, deforestation and species protection with a longer lens. And we could all use a day that focuses on the joy, innocence and simplicity of childhood — no gifts or trinkets necessary.