As the days of August wind down and September comes into view, the holidays are approaching. Labor day weekend kicks of the holiday whirlwind that will take us all the way to the new year. However, there is one small day that almost gets lost in the shuffle, one that we might need to talk to our children about. September 11th, or Patriots Day, can be a day we need to have some conversations with our kids.
I will never forget where I was on September 11th, 2001. I was sitting in Western Civilizations Class in college when the planes hit the towers. Fastforward 14 years, and I am now the bonus mom to a girl who was born the same year. Now, those children are just one election away from being adults and being able to vote. Time sure does fly.
How do we talk to our children about that day? Do we guard them from seeing videos of the towers falling? Do we show them pictures?
First, I think we need to be honest without sharing more information than age appropriate. At 14, my daughter knows what happened that day. The whole story. At 11, my son is getting the whole story. At 7, my youngest is not. My older two children don’t fixate on events- my youngest does. It is important that we know our children well enough to know how they will handle the information, as well as what to tell them.
Another great idea is to use children’s books. “On September 12th, We Knew Everything Would Be Okay” was a book written by children at an Elementary School. It walks us through what happened on 9-11 as well as telling them how the were reassured that they would be okay. I think this is important for our children to know -that scary things happen, but that they will be okay. I know not everyone was okay – but I think it helps our kids to know that as a whole, we will be okay.
Let your children know that they can dialogue with you and ask questions. I think that our children are often the most scared or concerned when they don’t feel like they can talk to you about the situations they are facing. Helping our kids process information is a big part of helping them to understand things better.
If you think your kids are not old enough to learn about it – that is fine too. Just remember, that it is a part of history books, and that they may be exposed through literature or television. Be sure you are monitoring or talking to teachers closely if you are uncomfortable.
September 11th was a scary day in our nations history- but we can use this as a time to show our patriotism for our country!