As we celebrate Remembrance Day today, many Toronto parents are struggling with how to talk about this particular day with their kids. Issues like war, death and freedom are difficult to discuss with young children. If you’re wondering how to go about it, we have some mom-to-mom tips to offer you.
Tips for Talking about Remembrance Day with Kids
Make it Age-Appropriate
No matter how old your kids are, you need to bring any discussions down to a level that makes sense to them. As with pretty much any topic, when you’re talking about Remembrance Day simpler is better. Your four-year-old probably won’t understand the finer points of international relations, but they will likely understand, “Today we remember soldiers who fought for Canada.”
Be as Honest as Possible
Keeping in mind that you need to be age-appropriate, be as truthful as possible. It’s tempting to sugar-coat difficult issues, but if you do you run the risk of leaving your kids with incorrect information. This doesn’t mean overloading your kids with information, though. It simply means doing your best to answer their questions honestly, in a way they’ll understand.
Make it Personal
If you know someone who has served – or have a family member who has served – sharing that story with your kids can bring it home much more powerfully than anything else. Perhaps one of their great grandparents fought in World War II, for example. By concentrating on the personal experiences, you can help your children understand ideas like bravery, sacrifice and war.
Kids learn through doing, and they love ritual. This means that participating in Remembrance Day ceremonies is a great way to help them learn more about this day. Attend services in your community (find a listing at www.toronto.ca/lestweforget/remembrance.htm), or watch them on TV. Wear a poppy. Mark 11:00 a.m. with two minutes of silence. Create your own wreath. There are lots of ways to get your kids involved.
Remember all Year Long
Remembrance Day is only one day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate Canada and remember those who served (and are still serving) all year long. Some families send letters and care packages to soldiers. Others teach their children the words to “O Canada”, read books, or visit a Cenotaph. There are lots of ways that you can discuss this big ideas with your kids no matter what day it is.
How do you discuss Remembrance Day with your children? Leave a reply and share your tips!