For many people, July 4th means fireworks; wearing red, white, and blue; picnics; etc. Your children likely join into the celebration, but they may not understand the actual significance of this day. Below are some tips on teaching your children why the Fourth of July is significant, as well as what it means to be patriotic.
The Star Spangled Banner
Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner at Fort Henry, Baltimore, Maryland on September 13, 1814. He wrote these lyrics following the United States victory in the war of 1812, against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Teach your children the lyrics of this song, as well as the meaning behind them. Understanding what they are singing will make a big difference in how they view it.
Take your children to patriotic events, such as Fourth of July parades, plays, history reenactments that should be available in your community, concerts, etc. Visit your town or city's counsel or website to see what events are coming up.
Purchase a flag and mount it on a pole in your yard. Teach your children how to care for the flag, as well as how to fold it, take it down, etc. Talk to them about the flag, such as what the stars and stripes mean, who made the first flag, etc.
Vote at every election in your community, and take your children with you. Explain to them the importance of voting, and it is a responsibility you take seriously. Make sure when they turn 18 they register to vote so they can start voting on their own.
You can find a lot of music and books about patriotism for children, written in a way they will understand and for various age levels. You can also find many patriotic movies that you and your children can watch together.
If possible, take your children on educational, patriotic vacations.
Take your children to Boston and teach them about Paul Revere setting out on horseback to warn everyone the British are coming to capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock. On the following day, shots ring out in Lexington and the American Revolution began.
Visit Washington D.C. and take your children to the Arlington National Cemetery. Drive a few hours to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to learn about the Civil War. Seeing these historic sites is one of the best ways to build feelings of patriotism in your children.
The next time your child stands up in class to say the Pledge of Allegiance, they will show much more respect, and have a deeper understanding of what it means.