Conversations to have with your child this Republic Day!!
The Indian Republic! History and civics lessons in school teach children about how we became a Republic, but how much do kids understand what it means? Important topics like this are often best talked about when it is topical and the atmosphere is conducive. And what better time to talk about our Republic and India for kids than when the tricolor is flying high everywhere, and you can feel the excitement in the air?
Of course what you say and how much they assimilate would depend on the age of the young ones. For the toddlers and pre-schoolers just handling the flag respectfully, face-painting, watching parades are all fun activities and form the foundation for later conversations. But here are some interesting facts about India for kids and ideas on what you can explain to tweens and teens, so they know how our governmental system works.
- Tell them about soldiers who defend our borders – Did you watch the parade on Republic Day together? Those soldiers marching in perfect harmony, that impressive display in the air with our fighter jets and those fierce-looking tanks!! Which child does not find those exciting? Now that the stage is set, talk to them about what soldiers and the military do for us. They protect us from outside forces. You could also schedule a visit to military museums in your part of the country. From smaller towns like Nashik to big cities like Bengaluru, many museums are worth a visit.
- How diverse is the Republic! Just like their friends come from different homes, and when they meet they play what is good, and everyone can participate in, our country too has the most diverse culture, geography, and people. When we form teams to play, some people are better at keeping goal, while others are good at shooting them; some are good at batting, while others can bowl beautifully. We need all these strengths. Similarly, for team India to be the best we need different ideas and skills.
- Tell a story with a sprinkling of history - Our rich history is full of examples of courage, bravery and good governance. Everything we had before is part of our journey to what we are today and how we conduct and govern ourselves today. A conversation with a place of historical interest as a backdrop is more impactful than just a story in itself. Tell stories about the history of India for kids, but try and do it at a historical site or monument in your city. That will make it inspiring and fun!
- How elections work – Who chooses those who represent us? Do they pick the class monitor by voting from among themselves? Given a choice, would they like to have one person as a monitor? Why and how do they choose that person? When you raise such questions in the minds of young ones, it makes them think about such issues, and as they grow up, it helps them understand and appreciate and respect our republic better and become good citizens.
- How to govern a school or a county –Making our own rules and governing ourselves is the best way to regulate, but can everyone go and sit in the government leaving their day to day work and responsibilities? Elected representatives from amongst ourselves are possibly the best way of governance in that situation. Just like a student council is the government in school, the parliament is our government. The Head Boy and Head Girl in schools are often the students that have maximum visibility and idolized by little ones. Drawing such parallels will help kids understand.
- Our fundamental Rights and Duties – While this may sound very heavy, you can explain this with the example of everyday chores at home. They have to clean their plates and keep their toys in place. This is a duty. They also have the right to play every day. It is a parent’s duty to provide healthy food on time. It is everyone’s responsibility- right and duty, to vote and participate. Such examples will not only help them understand rights and obligations but will also make your job as a parent smoother in the long run!
While most of these conversations can be had anytime, this is a great time to have them. They are also not just about the broader concept of our nation but work for every community the children are part of. We need to govern every unit starting from family to school, city, and county in a way that includes every member, which is the beauty of what our republic offers to us. Today as we celebrate the 70th Republic Day, let us pledge to be more aware citizens and raise our little ones to be good citizens too. Can you think of a better way to celebrate being independent and a part of this might republic?
Happy Republic Day to all Indians everywhere!!
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