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July 4th: Explaining “Independence” to Children

July 4th: Explaining “Independence” to Children

I love the 4th of July – and not just because of the parades and patriotic fanfare and fireworks and picnics. As an American history and political buff, I actually really like the real meaning of Independence Day, reflecting on the birth of our nation, the development of our constitution and all that jazz. But that’s tough stuff to explain to a 3-year-old, so I thought I might try explaining Independence Day to her in her terms and reflect on some of her recent accomplishments that make her an independent big girl. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Explaining “Independence” to a Child

  • Being potty trained.
  • Undressing herself for bath time.
  • Getting on her one-piece PJs all by herself, including zippers and snaps.
  • Peddling and steering her own trike.
  • Eating cherries and olives while taking care to remove the pit herself.
  • Earning a special “thank you” card from her teacher for being a great listener and the only one to clean up that day.
  • Trying hard to write her name.
  • Taking a shower and rinsing her hair under the shower spray by herself.
  • Fearlessly climbing the inflatable water slide at her cousin’s birthday party and patiently waiting her turn in line with big boys three times her age (and 10 times her size).
  • Telling me “don’t worry Mommy, I’ll keep you safe,” when I told her I was not feeling well and she realized Daddy had gone to work.


I’m sure she’ll have more of her own. I’ll let you know if she has any really good ones. Happy July 4th, everyone!


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