15th August has always been an important day in our lives. It’s helps us appreciate the value of the freedom we enjoy today, and a remembrance of those who lost their lives for it. It’s also a reminder of what we can achieve when we stick together, and what we can lose when we allow others to divide us. However, current events makes us wonder if we still remember the importance of the story of India’s independence.
When we were younger, there were still many freedom fighters who were still living. Even our grand parents had several stories to say of the forties and fifties. But as the years pass, that generation and their stories are slowly slipping away from us, and it feels like we’re losing touch with the true meaning of patriotism and the nationalistic spirit that drove our freedom fighters.
But we can still keep the story of our independence fresh and alive in young minds by introducing them to it early enough. Now how early is a subjective matter and depends upon your child, but around age 3 should be fine, or whenever they start asking about it. To make things easier for you, we’ve got some tips here to help you introduce toddlers to the story of India’s independence.
How to Introduce Toddlers to the Story of India’s Independence
1. Explaining the concept of Freedom
To explain how India got independence, it’s important to explain why we wanted it in the first place! Ask your toddler if he’d like it if someone didn’t let him play with what he wanted, eat his favorite foods or go anywhere. When he can do what he likes, that means he is free. Tell him that Mommy, Daddy and everyone else are free to live anywhere in India, work, drive and have fun because we are a free country.
2. Talking about Britain
You can’t talk about the British Rule and India’s independence without mentioning Britain! Skip the East India Company bit for now, and just show them the country on a map. Show India too, and talk about how they travelled in those days, over the sea. You can talk a little more about the place – the weather, the Big Ben, the food etc, so they have a rough idea about the culture. Try not to put it in a negative light – we want the next generation to be global citizens!
3. Establishing the relationship between the two countries
When sharing the story of India’s independence with young children, it’s important to approach it in a gentle and age-appropriate manner. To help them understand, you can start by explaining a simple concept like bartering, where you trade something you have for something your toddler has, just like countries trade with each other.
India had some special resources, such as spices, silk, and precious jewels, which other countries, like Britain, wanted to trade for. So, British people started coming to India for this purpose. As more British individuals settled in India, they started using up these special resources. Along with that, they also started imposing rules on the Indian people, telling them what they could and couldn’t do. It restricted their freedom to move, work, and live as they pleased.
But the people of India wanted their country back. They yearned for independence and the freedom to make their own decisions. So, they decided to ask the British to leave and let India govern itself. Their struggle for India’s independence became a significant turning point in the country’s history.
4. Describing the freedom struggle
The story of India’s independence is a long and intricate one, but we can simplify it for a toddler by focusing on a key figure, Mahatma Gandhi, and his approach of non-violence.
You see, back then, the British liked being in India so much that they didn’t want to leave. But many people, including Gandhi, kept reminding them that India wasn’t their home. Gandhi was a special man who believed in talking peacefully to the British and making them understand that they couldn’t stay in India any longer.
Gandhi’s peaceful approach had a powerful impact. Slowly but surely, the British realized that Gandhi was right. They finally understood that India should be free, and they decided to leave. This meant that the Indians could finally live their lives the way they wanted, without the restrictions imposed by the British.
The day when this amazing event happened is celebrated every year on the 15th of August. It’s called Independence Day because it marks the moment when India gained its freedom and became an independent nation. This day is a special reminder of the struggles and sacrifices made by many people during India’s fight for independence.
5. Outlining the Independence Day celebrations
When talking to a young child about India’s independence, it’s important to focus on things they can easily relate to, like the tricolor flag. You can explain that every country has its own flag, just like the British flag we often see. Our flag represents India and helps people recognize us as Indians.
Since the Olympics are happening, it’s a perfect time to show how each country’s flag represents their team. You can tell your child that when athletes from different countries compete, they carry their flags during the opening ceremony parade. You can even show them a video of the Indian team proudly marching with the tricolor flag.
To make it more engaging, you can do Independence Day-themed activities together. Try making simple crafts or preparing tricolor recipes like a Tiranga Sandwich. Remember, you don’t have to explain everything at once. Take it step by step and create a scrapbook to track your progress.
Although there aren’t many Independence Day books for toddlers, “Grandfather Gandhi” is a great choice. It tells the story of non-violence in a way that young children can understand. Reading such books can help your child develop a sense of responsibility as an Indian citizen and foster love and compassion for others.
Ultimately, our aim is to raise responsible citizens who not only love their country but also care for others. So, enjoy the celebrations, have a happy Independence Day, and cherish the time spent with your child!