You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Celebrate a REAL Memorial Day with your children

Have fun as a family and truly celebrate Memorial Day!

Memorial Day Weekend… cookouts, family gatherings, opening day of the pool and some great sales at the mall.  For most of us, those activities are what Memorial Day is all about.  In recent years, many of us know soldiers that have risked his or her life to protect our nation and our freedom; sadly, we may know a soldier that has given us the greatest sacrifice, his or her life.  Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971 to remember our fallen soldiers and honor soldiers serving today; but it has been celebrated in some way since the end of the Civil War.

My nephew is enlisted in the armed forces, which has given me a real opportunity to think personally about the sacrifices our soldiers make for each of us.  We want our children to realize the importance of their freedom and to honor those serving to protect it.  So, how can we include the true meaning of Memorial Day into our fun summer weekend?  Here are a few simple suggestions:

1.      Talk about family members or friends who have served in the military.  Most all of us know someone who has served, and the personal connection and stories makes it real for our children.  Memorial Day can also be a time to remember family and friends that have passed away.  Focus on the happy times and memories you had with those special people.  Death is a part of life, and focusing on the happy memories we hold of our loved ones is a great teaching moment for children.

2.      Fly the American flag.  Honor our country by flying our colors.  Teach your child how to fly a flag properly. www.usflag.org

3.      Pause as a family for the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 pm.   Say a simple prayer or offer a simple gesture of respect for our armed forces.  This simple action will direct your family’s thoughts to the reason for their family celebration and fun!

4.      Head to the Memorial Day Parade.  What is more fun than a parade?  Stand and honor our soldiers and flag as they march by and enjoy the bands, floats, patriotic music, candy and clowns.  Don’t forget the sunscreen and water especially this year!

5.      Send a letter or a care package to a soldier serving overseas!  Find out how by visiting www.usocare.org or www.kidz4troops.org What a great way to brighten the day of a soldier and get your child involved!

6.      Send a card of thanks to veterans in the nearest veteran’s hospital or home.  Cards are so appreciated by our veterans that may be lonely in our hospitals.  This website gives you and your child cards that can be decorated for every holiday of the year.  They will distribute them to veteran’s hospitals around the country. www.patriotichelpinghands.com

7.      Bake cookies and make cards for families that have a loved one serving.  Thank them for their sacrifice too!

8.      Visit a local war memorial.  This is a great time to talk to your children about the sacrifice many men and women have made.  Participate in the Memorial Day Remembrance celebrations held at these war memorials.

9.      Sing a patriotic song.  Teach your children the words to our National Anthem!  Maybe you need a refresher course too!  Each one of us should be able to sing that anthem with pride!

So this weekend enjoy your family, friends, good food, and the pool, but help your children to develop a sense of patriotism and gratitude for the sacrifices of the many men and women that have fought for our great country.  Make it a true Memorial Day, filled with great memories and meaning.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


1 Comment

  1. Great suggestions, especially about attending the parade! I hadn’t even thought of that.


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