Discovery Point Blog
Celebrating Veterans Day
Falling between the vibrant autumnal holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving, Veterans Day is a uniquely different day of remembrance — one that has special meaning for all Americans. Introducing your children to its importance early on can encourage respect and appreciation for the sacrifices U.S. service members have made across generations to protect them.
It’s all too easy to go about our lives without taking a moment to recognize what others have done to make our freedoms possible. Giving your child the opportunity to come to this realization themselves can fill them with gratitude for the bravery of U.S. service members and shift their focus onto the needs and feelings of others.
Talking to Children About Veterans Day
November 11 marks Veterans Day each year. It is commonly confused with Memorial Day, which honors service members who have passed. Veterans Day, in contrast, commemorates living military members and the families who support them.
Before celebrating Veterans Day, help your child understand exactly who veterans are. The way veterans are described is often a bit too abstract for children to really make a connection with.
For example, it can be hard for a child to imagine military bases in foreign countries. However, if you point out that they likely interact with veterans on a regular basis, you can help make this concept more personal. Remind your child that veterans don’t have to be in uniform to be considered veterans. They could be teachers, postal workers, cashiers, custodians, doctors, or your neighbors.
You may even have veterans in your family you can point out to your child, whether they be a grandparent, uncle or aunt, cousin, or ancestor further back in your family line. Explore military connections within your family by creating a family tree and doing a bit of research about each relative who has served in the armed forces. This background could provide context in which your child can make a more personal connection to the importance of the holiday.
Children may also want to discuss what it’s like to be a soldier. This is a good opportunity to describe the sacrifices service members and their families make. For example, you could mention that they often miss out on family time and special events and often risk their personal safety. When children have a better understanding of the hardships service members face, they will have a greater appreciation for the meaning of Veterans Day.
Simple Veterans Day Ideas
There are plenty of simple ways to teach young children about the significance of Veterans Day and how to show respect and appreciation towards veterans. Here are a few age-appropriate ideas you can use depending on your child’s interests and what is most likely to inspire them.
Visit a VA Hospital or nursing home
Hospitalized veterans often value visitors who can bring joy to their day and show their bravery and sacrifices have not been forgotten. You may even be able to arrange a small reception at a VA nursing home within your community to help children build relationships with older veterans in the local area.
Do something special for a military family
When we think of helping veterans, we often think of sending care packages or tokens of appreciation overseas. While service members surely deserve this support, many wish their families could receive a show of appreciation in their stead.
Those with spouses or parents overseas may feel lonely in their absence, and letting them know you recognize their sacrifice can make a difference. Doing something as simple as making a meal from scratch for a local family can help show you care.
Read a book about veterans together
There are many beautiful picture books for children that present stories about military deployment. These stories and illustrations can help children better visualize the lives of service members. The Kids Thank a Veteran website has a list of many family favorites you can check out.
Send a card or letter
A handmade card or thoughtful letter from a child can brighten just about anyone’s day. After talking with your child, you can decide who their heart leads them to write to, whether it be the family of a fallen soldier, deployed military personnel, wounded warriors, veterans, or new recruits.
Operation We Are Here has a comprehensive list of organizations that send cards and letters to various groups related to the military. Even if your child is a bit too young to write on their own, they can draw pictures or create a backdrop for you to write on, adding a personal touch to your message.
Attend a Veterans Day event
Take a look at your local community calendar to see if there are any ceremonies or parades organized for Veterans Day in your area. Because these events bring so many veterans and military families together, they offer a great opportunity for children to see and to learn more about the veterans who live and work around them.
Taking the time to commemorate Veterans Day can help your child grow socially and emotionally. It will also bring their attention to the many ways others have made their life possible. As a family, focusing on the veterans in your community can also help you develop personal connections with the people who have sacrificed so much for the good of the country.
Celebrating Veterans DayIf you are a veteran or the family member of a veteran, our team at Discovery Point sincerely thanks you for your service.