8 Ways to teach your child patriotism
8 Ways to teach your child patriotism
Patriotism may be termed as the love or respect for one’s country or motherland. That said, there are a lot of things to appreciate about living in one’s country and now may be the best time to let your child know about them. Since they are our country’s future, the onus lies on us as parents, to instil in them the spirit of patriotism to safeguard it.
If done properly, they will know and understand the importance of patriotism and citizenship and become responsible adults. Here are some ways among many others, to teach your children about patriotism:
1. Visit sites significant to your country’s history: On special occasions like Independence or Patriot’s Day, a visit to the museum or historical sites would not be a bad idea. This could serve as an opportunity to educate them about your country’s history such as past leaders and their struggles in getting your nation to where it is today. This enables them to appreciate their country and not take for granted certain privileges.
2. Set an example of research, learning and discussion: Talking politics can be difficult but try making the discussion fun and positive. For example, in explaining terms like voting and arms of government or the constitution, relate it to things that happen in their school- when they vote for class president, or school head, etc. Remember that you are trying to teach them about pride and love for their country and not anger or frustration, so try as much as possible not to add too much emotion. Stick to the facts. Additionally, make the effort in reading newspapers, books, educational magazines on patriotism and citizenship a regular habit. Doing these set good examples to them as kids, and sets a criterion for them as they mature.
3. Talk about freedoms and laws: While growing up, being taught the law by our parents and teachers was pretty boring. However, it is our duty to make this process more interesting to our children, with the aid of several resources. Talk with your children about the laws, protections and freedoms you have earned as a country. Find out from them what freedoms mean to them and get them to tell you the ones which mean the most to them (going to school, having playgrounds, talking with friends). Helping them to connect things they get to do on a daily basis to patriotism aids them to view the way the country is organized and run. That said, this helps in making the idea of patriotism become more tangible than abstract.
4. Be an example: There is no best way to teach patriotism than being the perfect example. One of the most important ways to start teaching children patriotism is to make a point of exhibiting patriotism at home. For example, stopping for street children to cross, partaking in community projects, or not crossing the red light are ways by which you can teach respect for laws and responsible citizenship to your ward. Also, make a steady effort to show pride and passion for your country by posting stickers and hanging flags in your car and at home not only during election times or independence day celebrations.
5. Explain the system of government at their level: Though our children may be taught to an extent how the government works, more falls on us as parents to reinforce it to them. You could do this by explaining what it means to vote, who a legislator is, why a president spends x number of years before he is changed, what his duties are, etc. Furthermore, we can educate them by helping them identify their presidents, ministers and certain important politicians. Additionally, plan a visit to a legislator’s office in your community and get them to explain their duties. I bet this would leave a lasting impression on your child!
6. Mark and celebrate or discuss every holiday: Holidays like Patriots’ and Independence Day, can serve as the right opportunity to discuss national issues and current affairs over a special meal, dress in your national colours, go see a parade together, or consume patriotism related media such as movies, books, or tapes. Similarly, you can have a democratic debate in your home. Take up an issue at home or in your community and itemize the pros and cons. Discuss why you agree or disagree with one’s decision. In order to bring some excitement into it, try rewarding their efforts by getting them a gift or taking them to their favourite restaurant for ice-cream.