Election Day, as well all know, is a very important day for our country. Voting is one of the simplest and most effective ways we as American citizens can how our voices heard and effect change.
While many people believe that voting is something that our children wouldn’t be interested in, it is actually a great way to get them involved in the world around us!
According to Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald – Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist, “Voting is about using your voice to stand up for what you believe in. I’m pretty sure that all of us as parents, regardless of our political leanings, want our children to grow up knowing that their thoughts and opinions matter. Plus, the candidates who are voted into office will be shaping your girl’s future—from her educational options today to her financial realities as she becomes an adult.”
But getting your child involved in voting does not need to be difficult. Below are 4 easy ways to get your kids involved and excited about making a difference in their country.
1. Talk about what you see.
It seems that everywhere you look during election season, there are political ads and statements – on bumper stickers, pins, tv, even the internet.
When you see these ads and statements, use it as an opportunity. Talk about who our leaders are and what the issues are that we are voting on.
PBS kids has a great webpage where your little one can learn fun facts about the president and current leaders and get involved with voting and elections.
2. Make it personal.
Talk about what you believe and why. Talk about why these topics matter for their future.
Then ask them what they believe. What matters to them? School? Animals? Children? Being nice to others? You might be surprised by what your kids say. Chat with them about how our leaders help to fight for what matters to us.
3. Take them with you to vote.
Get them excited about going to vote with. Tel them what a special time it is and what they can expect when they get to your polling location.
When you arrive talk to them about what you see. Explain that people volunteer to help and walk them through what voting is like.
You are allowed to bring up to two children under 18 to any polling location in the United States. Bring a doll, coloring book, or something quiet for them to play with if they get restless while waiting.
4. Follow up.
Talk about the election results with your kids. Whether or not the people you voted for won, it is important to discuss who won and what that means for your future.
Let them know who won in the state and how many people showed up to vote. Even if there weren’t many people there when you voted, letting your kids know how many people participated will get them excited that they were a part of something so important.
You can also write a letter with your children to the candidate they supported (If they had one) thanking them for working hard for them and their future and letting them know that they support them.
- Keep it positive. – Whether or not you won the election it is important to let them know that everyone has different opinions and that is what makes our country so great.
- Keep it open – Ask them what they believe and why and listen to what they have to say.
- Answer any questions they have to the best of your abilities. – Kids will have a lot of questions. Encourage them! This article is a wonderful resource for common questions kids ask and how you can respond.
Getting children involved in the election process is important – they are our future after all!
Other great resources: