Remembrance is an important part of British culture, with events around the country to commemorate the Armistice and paying homage to our troops past, present and future. But when it comes to children, some of these concepts can be very difficult to grasp. Read on for a few ways to help your children understand what this event is all about, and get ready to take them with you to any events you may be attending this weekend.
An important thing to remember is that your child will already learn about World Wars I and II at school. They will even, often, learn about ways in which they affected life in England at the time.
But children may find it difficult to relate this knowledge back to actual people they can imagine – or people they know.
That makes empathy – always a difficult emotion for a child – much more elusive. So relating war back to your child’s frame of reference is a good idea. Obviously, however, you want to do so without making them worry that war will tear their home and family apart at any moment, so focussing on past wars is a good idea.
Buy some books and engage in some internet research with them to help them place things geographically, but also look back over your family tree and look into which of your ancestors may have personal experience with war. What might that have been like?
Call on your children’s imagination to help fill in the blanks and decide what may or may not be relevant. Discussing well-documented victims of war such as Anne Frank may be a good idea, too, but avoid getting too graphic; you as a parent know best, so try to toe the line as far as your child’s ability to cope goes.
Buying a poppy is obviously a must, but buy one for your child, too. They can begin to learn about showing their support by learning about the poppy and its significance to our troops. Relate everything back to the Flemish fields and look up the relevant poem together. You can even look back at the symbolism of the poppy as a symbol of death and sleep, as it relates to the imagery of In Flanders Fields and help your child advance his or her understanding of poetry as a whole and symbolism specifically. From there you can make the leap to the sacrifice made daily by our troops and troops the world over as they protect the freedoms we hold dear at great potential and actual cost to themselves. This allows your child to understand why troops need support; again, avoid being graphic, but give them some information about the various ways in which soldiers may be affected for life by what happens to them during their time in the army.
By giving your child an age-appropriate education about the sacrifices made by, and the importance of troops throughout the ages, you can make Remembrance Sunday into a part of their tradition and help them appreciate the life they are able to enjoy thanks to the British troops.