Flag Etiquette for Kids

By Kay Ireland
Children can fly their own flags as long as it's done correctly.
Children can fly their own flags as long as it's done correctly.

While the American flag doesn't seem like child's play, kids can interact with the symbol of patriotism as long as it's done with respect. While a flag can be used for decor in your child's room, for instance, it needs to be hung horizontally and treated properly to follow flag etiquette requirements. By teaching children about showing proper respect for the flag, you can ensure that whether as part of a parade or the Pledge of Allegiance, they know how to recognize the flag and treat it well.

Flags at Home

If you choose to fly a flag at your home, it should be displayed from sun up to sundown or otherwise lit during the night. While you might be in charge of raising, lowering and maintaining an outdoor flag, your kids might want flags in their rooms for decor. It's fine to display flags at home as long as they are hung horizontally and not draped over desks, beds or drapes, according to the American Legion. The blue section should always remain to the left of the viewer.

Parade Pride

When you're at a patriotic parade, it's almost a given that your children will snag a few small flags to wave. When flags are given out, show your kids how to carefully handle the flag with respect. Flags should never touch the ground, so kids should be careful to keep their flags securely in their hands. If a flag is displayed on the side of a float or as part of a marching band, everyone should remove their head gear and place their hands on their hearts and face the flag until it passes, according to the American Legion.

Pledging Allegiance

Many schools start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the morning announcements. Educate them on the proper respect for the flag and the pledge at school -- placing one hand over the heart and facing the flag as the pledge is said. If the national anthem is also part of the morning routine, children can sing along or remain silent until the song is finished.

Around Town

Many of the businesses and buildings around your town or city probably display flags. Seeing flags around town is the perfect opportunity to explain the various positions of the flag to your kids, such as placing the flag at half-staff to honor someone's death or flying a flag upside-down as a sign of distress. You can also talk about what happens when a flag becomes unserviceable -- it's usually disposed of by burning.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.