Tee’s been bringing home paintings of poppies all week from school, and I was curious to find out if she knew why she was making all these poppy-related arts and crafts.
“What do the poppies mean?”
“It’s for Rememance Day.”
“What’s Remembrance Day?”
“Rememance Day is for soldiers.”
“What’s a soldier?”
“I don’t know.”
So I tried to explain it to her in a way that she could understand. “Soldiers are men and women who protect people living here in Canada and other people in the world too. Sometimes they get hurt or even die when they’re trying to protect people, so we have a special day to make sure we remember them and thank them for what they do for us.”
When you’re explaining the meaning behind Remembrance Day to your preschooler, gauge how your child is feeling and what they’re ready for. You’re the best judge of how your child will react, but kids often understand more than we give them credit for. Explain as much as your child can handle. It’s okay if they don’t understand everything you say. Every year they’ll learn more.
If you know a veteran and they’re willing, introduce them to your child. Maybe take them out for lunch or invite them over for dinner. Being able to put a face and name to the concept of “soldier” or “veteran” can help your child make a more personal connection.
Let your child see what you do to honour veterans. Bring your child with you on a visit to your local cenotaph, attend a veterans parade, or participate in a Remembrance Day ceremony. But if you know your child isn’t old enough yet to sit still or behave appropriately, be careful not to put them in the position of accidentally being disruptive to others.
This is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in front of the National War Memorial in Confederation Square, in Ottawa, Ontario. On October 22, 2014, Corporal Nathan Cirillo of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada was gunned down and killed here.