what labor day is

Do Your Kids Know What Labor Day Is?

For many of us, Labor Day is the official mark of the end of summer. We get the day off, we gather with family and friends, and we celebrate. But do we know what we are celebrating? When my kids were tiny, and they asked me what Labor Day is, I had to stop and think. “Um, I think it’s about working…which is weird because we’re not working, but um…” So as we head into this Labor Day Weekend, let’s be prepared to explain what Labor Day is.

Labor Day goes way back to the Industrial Revolution, when the terrible working conditions of many factories were exposed. After years of conflict between workers and employers, unions began forming to advocate for workers’ rights. The unions weren’t able to help in all situations though. The conflicts became violent, and after a particularly violent incident, President Grover Cleveland declared that Labor Day would be a federal holiday to recognize American workers and their contributions to our society.

If your kids are old enough, you can talk about labor issues that people face today. You could talk with them about how they think people should be treated in their place of work. It’s a good opener to discussing how they can stand up for themselves and for other people in various situations. Even little kids can learn to stand up for the rights of others.

Show them your work

Kids know that we adults go to work, but do they know what we actually do there? Labor Day and the time following it can be a great time to help your kids know what you do for work. If you’re allowed to bring them to see your workplace, see if you can set that up. 

Children love to set up different workplaces and pretend to work there, so maybe you could help to set up a workplace like yours, and play along with them to show them what it’s like to work there.

Learn about different professions

Most kids have some ideas of jobs they would like to do. You know, what they want to be when they grow up. So maybe spend some time helping them to learn more about that profession. Or maybe learn about lots of different jobs. 

There are lots of resources online to help with this, and there’s always the library too. Kids will enjoy flipping through books about different jobs and checking out the pictures there.

Singing Time Empowers Kids

For Labor Day, you can teach your kids to sign “work.” Check out the rest of the Signing Time Dictionary for more signs to go along with your child’s favorite profession. There are sections on people, places, school, home, transportation, sports, and other categories to help you explore words to sign.

In the Signing Time Classic show “My Neighborhood,” Rachel teaches the signs for places around a neighborhood (places people work) and the people who work in a neighborhood.

At Signing Time we want all children to feel empowered to be all that they can be. Every child has hopes and dreams, and we try to support these ideas in all of our shows. You can access all of the Classic Signing Time shows and several others with a My Signing Time digital subscription. Try it out with a 14-day trial right here.

So now when your kids want to know what Labor Day is, you’ll have some ideas to help you out. Happy Labor Day!

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