Whether you live in Canada or the United States, there is one day of the year dedicated to the men and women who serve, and have served, in our armed forces to keep our countries free and safe.
Discussing this concept to your children may pose a challenge – how do you explain and instill the importance of honoring our fallen soldiers?
Here are some age appropriate ways you can teach your little one about these two very important dates, as well as some activities that will help engage them in learning about Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day:
What is Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day?
Every year, Canadians and Americans take one day to honor and remember those who have sacrificed their lives and freedoms by serving in the armed forces and protecting our countries.
These days are considered federal statutory holidays in both Canada and U.S., meaning that some states and provinces have the day off work and school on November 11th.
In Canada, this special day is called Remembrance Day and it focuses on remembering the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty.
It is observed on November 11th and two minutes of silence is given at 11:00 am to recognize and reflect upon the sacrifice of our soldiers.
Canadians honor those soldiers by wearing a red poppy, a flower that has become synonymous with Remembrance Day because of the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian John McCrae.
In the United States, Veteran’s Day is also observed on November 11th and honors the military veterans who served in the US Armed Forces.
Americans typically don’t wear a poppy on Veteran’s Day, since the holiday is more focused on all living veterans. Instead, they commemorate those who died in the line of duty on Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday in May, and wear the poppy then.
How to Teach Your Kids About These Important Holidays
Explain the Importance of These Days
When explaining Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day to your children, keep the conversation age appropriate.
For older children, you can begin to dig into the history of the armed forces. While a lot of focus tends to be on World War II, you can discuss older wars or even learn about current conflicts that your country is involved in.
For younger children, a simple explanation is best. Explain to them what a country is and how soldiers from that country protect us and fight to help other people.
Overall, make sure the focus of this holiday is on honoring people – their dedication and sacrifices and how that affects today’s freedoms.
How to Help Children Remember
Be sure to talk to your children about Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day every year, adjusting your explanation as they grow older.
Wear a poppy and encourage your child to as well (you can get sticker poppies that don’t involve using pins). Read to them the poem “In Flanders Field”.
Try to attend a ceremony in your area or watch videos and documentaries about Remembrance D and Veteran’s Day.
Here are some web sites dedicated to providing activities and crafts to help educate your children on the importance of Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day:
- Veteran’s Affairs Canada – Canada’s Veteran’s Affairs web site offers some great classroom resources for teaching kids about Remembrance Day – but these activities are perfect for home too!
- Kindergarten Lessons – These simple activities are geared toward younger children but still help to instill the values of Remembrance Day.
- Fantastic Fun and Learning – This site has some engaging activities to help your little one appreciate Veteran’s Day.
- Education.com – Whether you’re an educator or a parent, this site features activities and crafts focused on Veteran’s Day.