Labor Day History For Kids

Labor Day History For Kids

Of all the things our teachers teach our children, they do not often touch on the idea of Labor Day history for kids. How much do our children know about this important holiday? If anything, they only know that it is a holiday for workers, but that is the extent of it in most cases.

The designation of Labor Day as a national holiday prior to the turn of the 20th century is historical enough for our children to know about the history of the holiday, and not just that it is a holiday for working class Americans and Canadians. It is an important part of their heritage as Americans to know that the celebration began in 1882 in New York for those working under labor unions. From its conception in 1882 to its later designation into a national holiday in a bill signed by President Grover Cleveland, it has become an important part of our history.

Some confusion may exist concerning the adoption of the first Monday in September as the official Labor Day celebration. Some sources say it’s to differentiate it from the Socialist Labor Day on May 1st, a date that later became May Day, and others indicate that it was chosen because it is halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. Regardless of which version you accept as truth, it is still important to know that Labor Day is not just a holiday to celebrate the unofficial end of summer, nor is its purpose to signify the beginning of autumn and a return to school for our children.

The historical significance lies in the fact that upon its inception, 40 percent of the workforce worked under a labor union, and the holiday was set aside to honor those workers. Currently, about 14 percent of the workforce belongs to a labor union. Although it still holds significance for those older workers and retirees who belong to the labor unions, for most, Labor Day means the unofficial end of summer and a day off from school. Sadly, Labor Day has taken the same road as Memorial Day and is only recognized as important by those who lived in the era that caused its creation.

In future generations, the children will not even know its significance unless we teach them now. Let us not forget the significance of Labor Day and teach our children the struggles their forefathers endured in order to allow the labor force to become one where the average person can earn a decent wage without working 16-20 hours a day six days a week.