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How to explain Armistice day and poppies to a 5 year old

(21 Posts)
paisleyleaf Sat 07-Nov-09 17:40:01

I appreciate that there are families living with war today and we're lucky to have the luxury to not have explained about war already to DD (5). Personally, I feel I'd like to take advantage of that luxury for another year.
But at school on monday they have someone coming in from the British Legion to speak in assembly to the children (infants and juniors together - so not sure how it'll be pitched) about Armistice day and the poppy symbol.
I'm wondering about whether to leave it to the professional speaker to explain about it. then speak with her and answer questions after. Or if I could do with talking a bit about it with her myself before the assembly.
What sort of words/explanations can I use without scaring her (I thought about emphasizing that it was a long time ago, or that fighting today is far far away).

paisleyleaf Sat 07-Nov-09 20:18:10

Anyone's child in reception talking about remembrance?

thisisyesterday Sat 07-Nov-09 20:22:47

i am sure te school will handle it fine!

i happened to have the discussion with ds1 yesterday though when we bought poppies.
he wqanted to go online to buy more poppy stuff for christmas lol, so i had to explain what it was all about

i just said that a long time ago there was a terrible war, lots of brave soldiers fought, and some of them died. and we wear poppies now once a year to help us remember all those brave people who died
he wazx quite happy with that, but wanted to know if he was just a baby when he fought the bad men hmm cue a bit moe explaining that it was even longer ago than that!

JackBauer Sat 07-Nov-09 20:25:18

DD1 is 3.8 and we have told her that poppies and memorials are how we say thank you to the brave soldiers who fought bad people for us.
I haven't said anything more than that yet.

AMumInScotland Sat 07-Nov-09 20:28:13

It's when we remember people who died in wars. Surely she has some concept of wars?

paisleyleaf Sat 07-Nov-09 20:30:46

How sweet him wanting to buy poppy stuff for christmas
Good simple answers, thankyou.
DD's not one to speak up with questions at school - just take it in. But the man has been each recent year, so I'm sure the school will handle it fine.

paisleyleaf Sat 07-Nov-09 20:32:35

AMumInScotland, nope, I don't think so. I'm trying to think of battle-like scenes in any films she may have watched, and I can't off the top of my head.

PortoTreasonandPlot Sat 07-Nov-09 20:34:28

Why would your average 5 yo have a concept of war? Mine doesn't. I have explained that there have been brave people fighting in the past who have died to protect us. And once a year we remember them, have a 2 minute silence etc. She seemed happy enough with that.

bigchris Sat 07-Nov-09 20:35:08

we have some great books on remembrance day in our local library

JackBauer Sat 07-Nov-09 20:35:33

I did try and explain wars but she doesn't get it.
I think that I will try and explain it next year but she has spoken to British Legion poppy sellers and understands that people get hurt and die for us/their country and this is how we remember and thank them. I think that's enough for a 3 yr odl TBH.

clare21 Sun 08-Nov-09 21:29:41

We have 5 yr old twins. We started talking about Harry Patch, Bill Stone and Henry Allingham last year, when I picked out a photo of the three of them at last year's Remembrance Day ceremony. We then read snippets of their obituaries as they passed away, with much fascination of the logistics of Dunkirk from DTS. They didn't grasp idea of war. But we've talked about the battles in Afghanistan, and brave people losing their limbs. So today when I wanted to watch the Wreath laying at the Cenotaph on telly, we all did together. DTS was wide eyed, DTD not at all interested after saw Princess Royal didn't look like her idea of a princess. Then in car straight after we listened to radio commentary about it all. They both seemed to absorb the idea that you could die to save other people when a mother talked of her son dying after he'd rescued a badly wounded fellow soldier. Lots of questions.

I don't know if what we did today was at all right, but I do want them to know about those very special people fighting for us, and who have fought for us.

Katz Sun 08-Nov-09 21:33:54

i used this prayer with my sunday school class today, i think it sums it up in words younger children understand

Lord, I have no memory of war.

I remember what it's like to feel scared;
I remember what it's like to feel sad;
I remember what it's like to lose something precious to me.

Help me to use my own memories
in understanding what this act of remembrance is all about
so that I can join my prayers with those who do remember.

HellBent Sun 08-Nov-09 21:37:19

DS came home with one the other day and said it was to give money for people who died fighting the soldiers and their friends with no legs living in hospital, I'm sure it was explained better than that to him though!

choufleur Sun 08-Nov-09 21:37:31

i think if you're explaining it it's important to mention about brave soldiers who are helping to keep us safe now. it's not just about things that happened in the past.

I've said to DS (3) that we wear poppies to remember and think about people who fought nasty people a long time ago but also soldiers who job is to keep us safe now.

FlamingoBingo Sun 08-Nov-09 21:39:18

My DDs all know about wars and remembrance - 6 and nearly 5 (and 3 and 1 but they don't really understand wink). I'm very honest with them so when questions come up, they get answered. We've been watching 1940s house a lot recently, we've talked about war a lot thanks to random car discussions started by asking what that big stone cross we were passing was, we've talked about the blitz, we've talked about the war in Afghanistan...

These things just come up in day to day life. Of course they ask why I'm wearing a poppy so I tell them. Not sure why you want to not explain about this to your DD yet?

Ixia Mon 09-Nov-09 01:17:51

Why wouldn't I want to explain war to my 4.5yr old DD?...Because war is a terrible thing, that no child should have to understand at that age, because she has nightmares about the Numbertaker (God knows how she'd feel about people killing each other), because she worries about everything and because she's only 4.5 ffs.

Northumberlandlass Mon 09-Nov-09 07:48:55

My DS (6) knows quite a lot I suppose. We have a large Cenataph (sp?) in the centre of the town and we have discussed it ever since he was much younger.

I tell him the truth, that we remember all those who have fallen and have fought (are still fighting for our country). Of course he has concept of war, but not in the opening scenes of Finding Private Ryan kind of way.

He has seen things on the news, about soldiers losing their limbs and I answer any questions honestly. I do make sure he realises that the current troubles are far away from us, but we have discussed WWII.

I know that DS school are encouraging the DC to wear poppies (rightly so) and I was really touched that they held a 2 min silence at DS rugby training yesterday morning.


Northumberlandlass Mon 09-Nov-09 07:49:36

oops - SAVING Private Ryan


GunpowderTreasonAndDragons Mon 09-Nov-09 07:52:37

DD asked why everyone was being quiet yesterday so I explained much the same as JackBauer.

paisleyleaf Mon 09-Nov-09 12:15:06

We watched some of the service yesterday and I spoke a bit, I pretty much said what choufleur said in her second sentence, and how lucky we are - and DD was thrilled to see real princes and a queen which was a good distraction.
Hellbent, LOL, no matter how well it's explained in DD's assembly today, I'm sure she'll come away thinking of it like that too.

smee Mon 09-Nov-09 12:17:19

Depends on the child I think. I have a DS who's been intrigued by history since very early on. He asks about all the soldier statues for example, and knows every one on the route back on the bus from the West End (from Nelson in Trafalger Square, to the Fire Fighters by St Pauls). So from that he asked about all the wars, who won, and what happened, who's dead, why they're dead, who killed them, how did they die, where are they now - honestly he was doing all that before he was four. It's been a bit of a test of our history to tell the truth.. So yes he knows what a Poppy is, and what it's for. I tell him simply and factually, and for us it's a gentle way of explaining wars aren't good. I might take him to the Remembrance parade through Westminster next year. I think it's important he does know the truth of war and the service is a dignified way of showing him how important it is.
ps: Ixia, DS was scared of Numbertaker too

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