I want my kids to know that we enjoy the lives we have, not just because mummy and daddy work hard (although this point MUST be drilled in before their teen years), and NOT because they are entitled to it, but because there are heroes we never meet.
My philosophy with these things is to choose activities that are both meaningful and enjoyable. That’s when my kids learn. Here are a few things I’ve done with my kids or that I want to try out this year to commemorate Anzac Day. Some require a bit of planning, and others, just a few moments of silence.
- Visit the War Memorial
The War Memorials I have visited are beautiful and peaceful. We visited the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance when my girl was three. I think the serenity of the grounds affected my little girl as much as it affected me. She walked quietly holding my hand, without complaining. We stood in front of the Sanctuary and bowed our heads. She wanted to know what it was, and I explained to her that it was to remember the brave people who fought for us.
I did this before the actual Anzac Day. As great as it would be to attend the Dawn Service, I have not managed with my little ones. Also, I am wary of the traffic and the parking situation on the actual day. If you have little ones, consider visiting the War Memorial before or after the actual date.
- Send a Postcard or an Email to the Troops
I sent a letter to a soldier when I was a little kid, and I actually received a letter back. I will never forget how cool that was. Even if my kid is not as lucky, this is something I would like to try with her this year. They now allow you to email (minutes well spent) or send postcards, so my daughter will definitely be able to connect with the troops. I guess my one-year-old could send his abstract piece as well!
Click here for information on how to send a postcard or letter.
3. Bake Anzac Biscuits
What child does not love squishing their hands in dough, smelling the aroma of fresh baked cookies, and then gobbling up the tasty morsels? For me, the point here is to tell the story of the Anzac Biscuits. The story goes, the wives of the soldiers sent Anzac Biscuits to their husbands abroad because the ingredients held up well. Because my girl is old enough, I asked her questions like, “How do you think the soldier felt when he received the biscuits from his wife?” “Do you think he shared the biscuits with his friends?”
Here is a really easy 4 step Anzac Biscuit recipe you can try out.
4. Fingerprint Poppies
My kids are really into fingerprinting these days, so I know they will enjoy this one. Again, I will talk to them about the significance of poppies. The story goes, during the First World War, red poppies popped up in the battlefields where the soldiers fell and soaked the ground with their blood. The poppies symbolise the sacrifice of shed blood. Umm, that might be a tad heavy for my kids. My daughter couldn’t get past the first ten minutes of The Good Dinosaur, this might make her shriek every time she sees a poppy…. I will keep it to “It shows the love soldiers’ love for us.”
Here is a great Fingerprint to try out – pretty and easy.
5. Honour with a Moment of Silence
Now I know this might be the hardest one on the list, especially if you’re raising a Little Miss or Mr Chatterbox. I pick a time when the whole family is together, and the kids are feeling calm and quiet (I know, it’s a rare moment). Then I tell everyone to close eyes, hold hands, and in our hearts (without speaking), say thank you to the men and women who fought for us. It’s only one or two minutes, and everyone feels thankful afterwards.