Explaining Remembrance Day To A Child
In the UK and across the globe we have all got together today to remember those who fell in the war and fought for freedom that many of us take for granted. However, how do you explain what today is about to children?
In the UK we commemorate the day with the symbol of a poppy. I remember as a child every year being given money by my parents to give over in exchange for a poppy. I still to this day donate money in exchange for a poppy, this year was no different.
My son is still quite young, but old enough to start noticing thing. He knows that the poppy is something important, but he is still is not sure why, so how do we explain it to him?
My husband and I have slightly different approaches my husband told my son what we wear poppys to honor the war dead. My approach was to explain the significance of the poppy. I told him the story about the field of poppys, and how the poppy is now a symbol so that we can remember all the bad that happened but also appreciate all the beauty that has happened as a result.
My husband chose reality, but I chose to add a little hope, I don’t feel that either of us are wrong.
As my son gets older, he will learn more through school, the media, his peers, and through his own research.
Many experts agree that age appropriate honesty is the most important thing, along with getting them involved. You can get children to make their own poppys, you can take them to a parade, you can tell them stories of people you know who fought in the war.
One thing I personally have found helpful in aiding me is a source which may surprise people, however they have helped me create opportunities to have conversation with my son.
The source? TV, or more specifically a certain TV channel. CBeebies.
Remembrance Day on CBeebies
During my time as a parent I have been incredibly impressed with how CBeebies approach many subjects in an age appropriate way, and Remembrance Day is no different.
CBeebies and CBBC have a short 2-minute clip where you follow a Rabbit and his friends as they navigate a battlefield, and at the end of the brief fight they emerge, and they soon become surrounded by poppys. It is a very simple clip, but it has a very strong message.
This clip has received praise from parents all over. However, it’s not just this clip, all over the channel they have chosen their programming very carefully, and the presenter segments have further supported the overall message of the day.
As I said this may not be popular with many people and believe me, I have not just sat my son down in front of the TV all day. However, I am a firm believer in credit being given where it is due.
A final thought
It is difficult to know how to explain serious and quite frankly horrifying subjects to children. The urge to protect them from the horrors of the world can be quite overwhelming. In the long run trying to shield them will do them no favours, trying to explain things as honestly as possible in an age appropriate way is a better approach.
There are many different resources out there for you to make use of, as well as things which you can do together to get them involved and feel a sense of connection to the event.