In today’s post, I want to share some simple and practical tips about how to raise patriotic kids.
I remember very clearly when I would enter the classroom and the principal or assistant principal would come over the loudspeaker asking all children to stand and face the United States flag, put our hands on our hearts and recite:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
This was in the 1970’s and I had never heard of anyone debating the saying of the pledge in schools. Often we would also sing the National Anthem, too.
Being in the heart of the United States, patriotism was everywhere. We heard of “hippies” in California protesting what was happening in Vietnam, but in our minds, California was a 3rd world country that really didn’t count.
I remember when my Uncle came home after fighting in ‘Nam and we all waved our small flags and showed our support. And, I dreamed of being just like him.
We found more and more people arguing that we should not “force” patriotism on our children. There were court cases, and we witnessed a downfall in the belief that we should support our country and its policies.
Here we are in the 21st century and we find those who show a patriotic spirit, but we also find another side that thinks that patriotic thought is similar to cult behavior. I often wonder how those people would react if they lived in a country like North Korea, Burma, or China.
The fact is: our children are going to hear and see these points of view, so it is up to us to instill a patriotic spirit in them at an early age.
How to Raise Patriotic Kids
In today’s post, I am going to share my top 19 tips on how to raise patriotic kids. Let’s take a closer look.
# 1: Give Them Choices
It is important that we teach our kids that we live in a democratic system and as such, we have choices we can make. But every choice comes with consequences. Explain to them how tradeoffs work and sometimes you must take the good with the bad.
# 2: Get Involved in School Functions
The reason non-patriotic parents have been able to “push their weight” in the school systems is because they are involved. It is up to parents to “fight back” by getting involved and pushing patriotic activities in school.
# 3: Teach Them to Respect the Flag
Our kids need to know proper respect of the flag. They should know how to fold the flag, when and where to fly the flag, and how the flag should not touch the ground.
# 4: Read Patriotic Books
No matter our kids ages, they should be reading, or be read to. I recommend reading patriotic books with your children.
Red, White, and Boom (by Lee Wardlaw), engages children with her rhyming poetic story about the fourth of July. Parades, picnics, the beach, and more are featured as Wardlaw shares the various events that people participate in or around the Fourth of July. This is a great way to introduce the activities so little ones before they attend the events. ~ Momenvy.com
# 5: Speak Softly, But Carry a Big Stick
This system was made famous by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Our children will understand it if used properly. They will make mistakes and those mistakes may be at the edge of being unpatriotic.
If you use President Roosevelt’s method, you kids will know where you stand and what will happen if they go against your rules.
# 6: Teach Your Kids the Meaning Behind All Patriotic Holidays
Each patriotic holiday should be explained to our kids. That includes:
- Veterans Day
- Pearl Harbor Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Patriot Day
- Loyalty Day
- POW/MIA Recognition Day
- Flag Day
# 7: Say the Pledge
I mentioned how we did it at school, but why not at home? You could teach your kids to say the pledge and how to face the flag with hand on heart.
Unfortunately, many kids today don’t understand the importance or significance of the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact, in high schools, is required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is becoming less and less common.
Still, many kids do read or recite the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom. Helping your child to understand that pledge can help them develop a sense of patriotism and love for their country.
First, explain to them that the pledge represents a promise to our nation. It shows that we will be loyal to our country and to the flag that represents that country because we are a country that chooses its leaders, sticks together, believes in freedom, and treats others fairly.
One thing that’s special about the Pledge of Allegiance is that most countries don’t have one. Americans decided to create one in 1892 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of when Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas.
Showing your children how unique our country is in that we believed so firmly in our country that we would make a promise to it is important. It helps show them that we care for and love our country and that our nation has chosen to stick together and honor that country, even when others don’t. ~ The Founding Fathers
# 8: Sing the National Anthem
We sing other songs with our kids. Why not sing the U.S. National Anthem with them. Teach them about the history of the Anthem.
# 9: Visit Historic Sites
No matter where you are, there is surely a historic site somewhere nearby. Make the time to visit historic sites and explain to your kids why they are historic.
It’s all very well reading texts and TV shows about the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane in France. But visiting the actual site where this terrible event happened brings a sense of realism that no textbook or TV programme can; it helps you connect with the area and with the people involved. Visiting an historical site makes learning about history interactive. ~ Travel Thru History
# 10: Celebrate Independence Day
This doesn’t mean you need to run out and spend a lot of money on fireworks, but do find a way to celebrate the day with your kids and explain to them why you are celebrating.
# 11: Organize a Family Debate
Now this should probably be with older kids, but a good, friendly debate can open up minds to why being patriotic is important.
It shows your kids that they do have a right to have their views, and you will allow them to have those views even if you disagree with them.
I come from a large and loving family, and political debates are usually something everyone looks forward too even though there is a huge mix of views. The key is being able to agree to disagree.
# 12: Teach Your Kids the Importance of the Military, the Police, etc.
With so many people talking negatively about police and Soldiers, we need to instill in our kids how important these people are.
# 13: Encourage Your Kids to Volunteer
Explain to your kids the importance of volunteering and giving back to their community. It could be a day of litter pick-up, helping elderly shop for groceries, or any number of other volunteer activities.
# 14: Teach Your Kids About the President and How Our Government Works
Just explaining how our democratic system works in electing a President, Senators, and Representatives can help them understand how our process works.
# 15: Introduce Your Kids to a War Veteran
Let them hear the experience of a veteran…a patriot, that fought for our country. Allow them to ask questions. I am sure the veteran will be happy to answer them.
Research how American veterans were treated after they returned from various military conflicts, ranging from the French and Indian War to the Persian Gulf War. Ask your children to compare and contrast their findings. Also compare and contrast how women and minorities who served in those conflicts were treated. ~ Military.com
# 16: Teach Them About Our Rights and Responsibilities
Explain to your kids how they have rights that people in other countries do not have. They have the right to speak openly and to pray. In some other countries, people are not allowed to do these things.
But, we must also explain that with these rights, we also have responsibilities. Paying taxes and obeying laws are part of our responsibilities. Even just picking up some litter is a responsibility to keep our country clean.
# 17: Take Your Kids with You When You Vote
It is good to have your kids see the voting process. Explain to them why you vote, and you may even tell them why and who you voted for.
As they get older, allow them to listen to political debates and ask them who they would vote for and why. Tell them your views, but do not force them to accept your views.
# 18: Explain the Acceptance of Various Cultures
You will probably want to tell your kids how the United States was built on a “melting pot” of various cultures. Explain to them why and how we accept various cultures.
You may also want to tell them that there are people who will not accept others. Explain to them that these people are just ignorant and lost.
# 19: Take Your Kids to Meet a Politician
In a similar way as meeting a veteran, take them to meet a local politician. Allow them to ask questions and learn what they can about how their job works.
# 20: Read the Constitution with Your Kids
Another great activity is to read the Constitution with your teenage children. Explain to them how the Constitution works, the different forms of government, the balances of power, etc.
# 21: Encourage Them to Join the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts
One of my best tips to raise patriotic kids is to encourage your children to join the Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts. These are great organizations that teach important life skills and patriotism.
It is not an easy chore to raise a patriotic child, but one thing I can say is: your kids are watching you and will try to follow in your footsteps.
You may say you are patriotic but then you start “bashing” the way our military works or the way our government charges taxes. When your kid hears these things, they get confused about how patriotism works, and then they hear things on the internet or on the television and it confuses them even more.
So, keep your actions and words in mind when your kids are near. They are learning from you. And use these tips to teach them to be patriotic.
Yes, there may be times you think our government or system is falling apart but no matter what, we still reside in the greatest country on earth.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to raise patriotic kids? Do you have any questions? Please post all you questions or comments below. Thank you.