Helping your child understand Remembrance Day

As adults we understand what Remembrance Day is, why we observe this day and the significance of the poppy.  Being the parents of young children, we try and shelter them from violence and sadness so they aren’t worried and scared.  That being said though, I think it’s important to be honest with them as to why we celebrate Remembrance Day.

Keep it simple, give them the basic facts and let their curious minds lead the conversation where it may.

Here are some facts to share with them to get the conversation going:

  • Remembrance Day is an annual occasion when our country invites us to remember and honour the men and women who have fought in wars long ago to keep us safe
  • Remembrance Day is always on November 11th as it marks the day that the war was over and there was peace again.
  • We participate in 2 minutes of silence of at 11:00am on November 11th to be thankful and remember all the brave soldiers that gave us a safe country to live in
  • Is there a relative that served in the war?  Tell their story
  • Explain that we are very lucky to live in a country where there is peace.
  • What is a Poppy and why do we wear them? – We wear red flowers called Poppies to show others that you are remembering those who died for their country.  The reason poppies are used is because they are the flowers which grew on the battlefields after World War I ended.
  • Be sure to let them know that Mommy and Daddy will always be sure they are safe

If they don’t understand, don’t push it.  You can help them feel involved in this important day in other ways and in time, when they are ready, they will understand.

What can we do to celebrate Remembrance Day with our Children?

  • Teach them about Peace and why it important in everyday life, on the playground and how they can be a peacekeeper
  • Read a book with them about Remembrance Day – A Poppy is to Remember is a great choice.  You can probably find this book at your local library or book store
  • Take them to purchase a Poppy .  Children get excited to put money in the box and wear their poppy proudly  (To stop it from falling off or poking your child, put a piece of cork on the end of the pin.)
  • Observe 2 minutes of silence at 11:00 am
  • Watch a Remembrance Day Ceremony on tv or attend a local ceremony
  • Send a Postcard for Peace to say thank you to those who served
  • Make a Remembrance Day Craft
  • Read a Remembrance Day Poem – In Flanders Fields is probably the most recited for Remembrance Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872-1918)

  • Sing a Remembrance Day song – There are many options out there but this is a kid friendly one and a fave in our house is.  You can sing the first line and your child can sing back to you as the second line

Little Poppy

(Sung to the tune of Frère Jacques)

Little Poppy, Little Poppy

Given to me, given to me

Help me keep Canada, Help me keep Canada

Safe and free, safe and free

I’ll wear a little poppy, I’ll wear a little poppy

As red as red can be, As red as red can be

To show that I remember, To show that I remember

Those who fought for me, Those who fought for me

Thank you to all men and women that fought to keep our country safe and free 

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