November is here, and that means that Remembrance Day is only a few days away. As parents, we strive to protect our children from violence and sadness, but it is important to be honest with them about why we celebrate Remembrance Day. It can be a difficult subject to talk about, especially with very young children, but important nonetheless. While there is no need to focus on the violence of warfare, it is imperative to remember the sacrifices that were made. Here’s our advice on how to celebrate Remembrance Day with children. We would love to hear your suggestions in the comments!
Start With Simple Conversation
Kids are so curious, and we love that about them! When talking about Remembrance Day, just start with the basics and then let them lead the way. You could talk about why 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month is a significant time, what poppies are and why we wear them, or tell them a story of a relative who served in a war. Kids are full of questions, some you might not know the answers to. Don’t be afraid to admit that and learn something new together! Let their questions guide the conversation, and they’ll learn exactly what they need to. If they don’t understand, don’t push it, but try to foster a conversation about the parts they do understand. You’re building a foundation for more information as they get older. If talking about war feels too negative, try shifting your focus to talking about peace. Above all, be honest with them. By all means leave some details out, but try to avoid sugar-coating everything.
Make It Personal
One of the best ways for kids to begin understanding the significance of Remembrance Day is to find ways to make it personal to them. Visit, or share the story of a veteran in your family. If that’s not an option, there are plenty of photos, videos and books available that help kids understand war from a more personal perspective. We love “A Poppy Is To Remember”, but there are so many great options. Try your local librarian for some suggestions.
Use An Activity
It can be difficult and uncomfortable to just sit down and have a serious conversation, so lighten things up by tying your conversation into an activity they’ll enjoy.
- Read a book like the one mentioned above, read a poem, or sing a song.
- You could watch a video, like this excerpt from What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown, or this animated short from the BBC.
- Poppy crafts are a great way to start talking about the symbolism of the poppy. Try one of the crafts we’ve collected on our Remembrance Day Pinterest page.
- Celebrate Remembrance Day with other families at one of the many events happening in the Lower Mainland.