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Remembrance Day – explaining it to a young child

How do you explain Remembrance Day to a 5 year old child?

Poppy for Remembrance Sunday
That is the question that I’ve had to face as a parent. I believe Remembrance day is an important event in the annual calendar and have for many years joined a local Remembrance Sunday parade as a member of St John Ambulance. My daughter was aged 4 last year and whilst she had been told about Remembrance Sunday both from school and from me I don’t think she really understood quite what it was about. She’s a little older now and we’ve discussed it a bit further, but it’s hard to know what to talk about without over simplifying the explanation.

I found the book Remembrance Day (Great Events) at our local library and have used this to help explain about the reason and significance of Remembrance Sunday.

The book explains about the reason for Remembrance Sunday as well as the history behind the First World War (The Great War). I’ve learned some more about the First World War from this book as well as it being useful to help explain it to my daughter. The book was a bit too long and detailed for a 5 year old but by summarising some of the details I managed to shorten it a little whilst reading it out loud.

I find that the second world war tends to take prominence whenever the world wars are talked about and so it’s good to have a book that concentrates more on the first world war. I don’t think it’s quite so easy for a 5 year old to distinguish between the two wars especially as we remember those from all the wars from the first world war onwards at remembrance Sunday. At this age I think it’s enough that she is at least aware of why the day is so important and she will hopefully learn more each subsequent year.

The book is written as a traditional non-fiction book rather than the tendency of some books to make it more “interesting” by focusing on the gory bits (eg. Horrible Histories). This is in no-way criticism though. I think that each style has its appropriate place and whilst I haven’t read the horrible history books on the world wars they are probably more suitable for older children and are probably less appropriate for discussing around armistice day than this book.

Hopefully I’ve provided the first steps in ensuring that my children will come to appreciate the importance of the sacrifice that so many people have made to protect our freedom.

Wear your poppy and remember those that have given their lives that we may be free.