What is Veterans Day?Originally known as Armistice Day and marked as the end of WWI, Veterans Day falls on November 11 every year, and is meant to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of U.S. veterans. While Memorial Day honors service members who have died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred while serving, Veterans Day honors and thanks living members of the military.
Why is Veterans Day Important?
Veterans Day provides a specific opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices that our service members make for our country – and for us – every day. And while we honor and thank them for their service, we should also remember the sacrifices that their families and loved ones make as well.
“In thinking about the military child’s experience, and how we support the military child,” says Rachel Robertson, Bright Horizons VP Education & Development, “it’s important to remember that, in some ways, they’re living in a unique culture, and that they have different schedules, different lingo, different stressors, and just a different way of life.” As part of a military family herself, Rachel says, “my kids’ lives were changed by being in a military family. They served, too.”
Encourage your children to learn more about what it’s like to serve in the military and to show appreciation for veterans and their families.
10 Ideas for Veterans DayVeterans Day can help teach children about empathy, sacrifice, and gratitude. Here are some things to do with your family in honor of Veterans Day.
- Talk about your own family history. Research which ancestors or relatives were in the armed forces.
- Organize a call or virtual meeting to talk with veterans about their life experiences.
- Write a veteran a letter thanking them for their service.
- Decorate your home and driveway with window artwork and chalk drawings honoring veterans.
- Make and drop off a curbside dinner to the veteran as a family. Have your child help prepare and cook the food.
- Attend a virtual parade or ceremony. Encourage your child to ask veterans questions, if possible.
- Have your child research and raise money for a veterans’ organization. Help her set up a hot cider stand or make baked goods to sell.
- Have your child donate his time. He could rake leaves for a nearby veteran or carry out other outdoor chores.
- Take a virtual tour of war memorials.
- Clean out your home and donate gently used items to your local Disabled American Veteran’s chapter.
Resources and Books for Military KidsWhether you’re in a military family or looking to help someone who is, we’ve rounded up additional ideas, books, and resources to support kids and families through the challenges of military life and deployment.
- If your child’s loved one is deployed, try having her keep a deployment journal. Children can express their feelings, write down their thoughts, and find questions to ask their loved one. And there’s even a version for spouses and parents, too!
- Books can often help children understand and process complicated situations – and reading together can offer a special bonding experience. Check out our recommendations for deployment and reunion books.
- Being apart during deployment is always a challenge, and holiday separations add another dimension. Here are nine ideas for celebrating the holidays while apart.
- From ways to keep touch with deployed loved ones to activity downloads and military-related games, deploymentkids.com is a great resource for children and families.
Take the time this Veterans Day (and any day) to talk with your child about the meaning behind the tribute, and how your family can show understanding and gratitude towards service members and their families.
Editor's Note: This blog post was written by Blog Editor, Kate Berube.