To most people, Labor Day is for sleeping in and cookouts as they enjoy the last days of summer. However, the holiday has a rich history that both adults and kids seem to forget.
As you prepare to celebrate this year, make a point to share the importance of Labor Day with your kids.
Teach Them the History
One of the best ways to understand the importance of a holiday is to study its history. Often, learning where the day came from and why someone created it in the first place reminds people of the reason behind the celebration. Therefore, it’s important to teach your children about the history of Labor Day.
The United States established this federal holiday in 1894 after years of unrest between workers and their employers. Amidst the Industrial Revolution, many laborers — some of them children — slaved away 12 hours a day seven days a week just to make a living. After years of mistreatment and hard labor, workers finally began to make unions and go on strike.
However, not all rallies and strikes won laborers better working conditions and higher pay. When employers refused to make changes, violent uprising ensued, like the Pullman Strike of 1894. Soon after, President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a federal holiday acknowledging the achievements, contributions and sacrifices of American laborers.
Make the Holiday Relatable
As you teach your child the history of Labor Day, feel free to simplify or expound upon it depending on how old they are. Either way, it’s wise to make the story relatable so your little one can better understand and remember it.
One way to make the history easier for young minds to grasp is by relating it to the present. While wages and working conditions have improved significantly since the first Labor Day, there is still unrest among laborers in the U.S. In May of 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending 40 years of legislative support for labor unions.
This order and other efforts to limit unions have severely hurt federal employees within the past few years. Evidently, workers still face many real issues today, more than a century after the first Labor Day. Shining a light on injustices they battle today will open your child’s eyes and teach them to advocate for themselves very early on.
Share Your Job Responsibilities
Another way to make current events and history more relatable and understandable is to tell your child about your job. Share your routine, daily responsibilities and the basic office dynamic at your place of employment. Compare the time you spend there to the time they spend in school so they can better grasp how much time you truly do spend working.
You might also let them try their hand at completing tasks similar to ones you might perform on a day-to-day basis. For example, if you’re a writer that works under a deadline, have them write a short article in 30 to 60 minutes. Are you a barista or a baker? Give them a recipe and guide foster creativity in the kitchen.
Share the tasks you do to keep the house in order as well. Enlist them to help you with the chores — without paying them an allowance. After all, you aren’t receiving a paycheck for raising your kids and being a mom is still an entire job in and of itself.
Talk About Their Future
It’s never too early to begin talking to your child about their future career. Use Labor Day as an opportunity to speak with your little one about possible career paths and what they might see themselves doing as an adult. Whether they want to be a garbage man or the president., every job requires certain skills. Begin helping them develop communication, leadership and collaboration skills each day in small ways.
To give them a peek into their dream job or field of interest, you could also schedule a visit to the local fire department, dentist office, veterinary clinic or another kid-friendly workplace. Let them speak with workers and volunteers to better understand the commitment the job requires. They may just discover that being a vet is harder than it seems.
As your child grows, have them job shadow others for an up-close look into another person’s workday and their various obligations. Encourage them to begin an internship within their career field of choice. Even spending a few hours in an office, clinic or factory can help them better appreciate the men and women working day in and day out to make a living and a meaningful contribution to society.
Have a Kid-Friendly Labor Day!
This Labor Day, why not focus on honoring everyone who works hard to earn money and make a difference? Incorporate kid-friendly activities into your celebration by writing thank you notes to local policemen or making care packages for healthcare workers. Weave the history of the holiday into your festivities, too. Even the adults might learn a thing or two.
About The Author
Dylan Bartlett writes about a variety of topics on his site, Just a Regular Guide. Check it out for more info on home improvement, DIY projects and remodeling apps. Follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates!