Children love to celebrate and have fun. But they don’t always understand the reason behind the celebrations unless we tell them. You may be wondering how to teach children the meaning and importance of Memorial Day. Take a cue from the ideas below to help you.
Most people think of Memorial Day as the first three-day weekend of the summer season, even though summer is still a few weeks away. Many of those people look forward to the sales and children look forward to an extra day off of school. However, it is worth telling them that there’s more to the holiday.
One thing you want to be sure to do as a family is to explain that the holiday was originally set up to honor the soldiers from the United States who had died during the Civil War. Since the holiday began in the 1850s, it has continued to commemorate fallen soldiers from every war and armed conflict that the United States has been a part of.
Talk about the children’s ancestors who fought, and possibly died, during one of the country’s wars. Did their great-grandfather serve during World War I, or their grandfather in World War II? They may have had an uncle who was a soldier during the Vietnam conflict, or possibly they have someone currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Use this day to talk about the sacrifice of the soldier, but also the entire family, when they go away to war. These soldiers have offered their lives during the time they’re fighting for the freedom that we all hold so dear. It is important that we recognize their sacrifice and honor their memories.
Take time to participate in any activities planned in your community for Memorial Day. Be sure to display the flag and teach your children the proper way to display it, how to handle the flag while it’s being raised and again as it’s being lowered. If you’re not sure about the proper handling of a flag, you can find the information on the internet or look inside the case your flag came in. There is likely information in the box.
Make sure your children know how to say the Pledge of Allegiance, how to sing the Star Spangled Banner, and other patriotic poems and songs. Encourage them to sing along or recite these things when they’re being performed.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day because a number of women decorated the graves of the soldiers who had died during the Civil War. Paper poppies are also sold and worn to commemorate the day. As time passed, the holiday was officially changed to Memorial Day and given a specific day each year to be celebrated – the last Monday of the month of May.
If you’re wondering how to teach children the meaning and importance of Memorial Day, use some of these ideas. Your child will appreciate knowing the meaning behind the holiday and still enjoy the day off.