Attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Gallipoli with children

Anzac Day is one of the most important days of remembrance in the Australian and New Zealand calendars and an important moment to reflect and celebrate the Anzac Spirit. Traveling to Turkey to be a part of the Anzac Day Dawn Service is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that many want to share with their families.

Many school-aged children will have learned about Anzac Day, its history and the events that took place in the classroom. But for younger children, the meaning and importance of Anzac Day and the sacrifice made by the ANZACs can be a challenging topic to discuss.

If you are thinking about attending the Dawn Service at Gallipoli, there are a few ways you can introduce the events that took place at Gallipoli to your children and how it has impacted the country they live in today.

Depending on the age of your child and how much information they can absorb, start by explaining that Anzac Day is a time to remember all soldiers who have fought for your country to make it a safer and happier place to be. You can then continue by explaining that some soldiers who go off to fight don’t come back and that you will be traveling there to remember them and the sacrifices they made.

Most children enjoy being included in organising events, so don’t exclude them when planning your trip to Turkey and where you will be traveling. Show them on a map exactly where you will be going and how far it is from your country. This is also an opportunity to explain how the ANZACs arrived at Gallipoli, landing their ships off the beach at Anzac Cove.

If your child responds well to visual cues, search your local library for books about Anzac Day that may have illustrations helping to explain the events that took place and what it means today. You can also buy a commemorative badge in the lead up to Anzac Day, which is a good way to begin the conversation about why we pause to remember.

Attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Gallipoli means arriving the previous evening and sleeping out at the Commemorative Site. Make sure you’re prepared with warm sleeping bags and blankets to keep you and your children warm, as well as earmuffs to block out noise from those around you. Explain to you children that it is going to be like camping but with lots of other people.

It’s also important to explain that when everybody is quiet during the Dawn Service, they need to be quiet too. Perhaps suggest that they think about some of the things they particularly love doing during these quiet times and that they are able to do those things because of the sacrifices these soldiers made for them.

Attending the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Gallipoli is a special experience for any family and enables children to experience first hand the site of this influential event in the history of Australia and New Zealand.