It's Election Day, and even though our kids may not b old enough to vote just yet, it's important to teach them why their vote and voice are essential! Parenting Expert, Reena B. Patel, shares some tips on ways to start the conversation with your kids.
For more information: ReenaBPatel.com
1. Be a good “voting” role model. Tell even your youngest child about your voting experience and make sure to wear the “I Voted” sticker. In fact if you can, take your child to vote with you. Let them observe the process.
2. See if your child’s school is holding a mock election this year. Offer to volunteer to help set one up if they do not have one. Show students the outcomes per their own schools voting. This will give them a real hands-on voting experience.
3. Absolutely share your beliefs. Tell your child who you are voting for and explain why. What is important to you and your family during this election cycle. Is it education, jobs, access to healthcare? This will impact your child as they grow and become voters themselves.
4. It’s ok to disagree and have an opinion. This is a great time to talk about healthy dialogue. Talk with your child about how you handle disagreements in your home. Use concrete examples and the word “sometimes”. Politics can get heated and it is important to let your child know that at the end of the day we come together for a bigger cause.
5. For preschool and elementary age children, you can use math when discussing voting.
6. What electoral votes does each state have? Use household items to represent states.
7. Ask them questions. What have they heard about the election, the candidates and the process? This will give you an idea where to start when sharing information about the importance of voting and elections.
8. For older children, get them to research each of the candidates running for a particular office, then discuss what they learned about them. This is a great way to teach young people how to be critical thinkers instead of taking what they hear in commercials at face value.
9. Get them excited !! Even if you aren’t political, your children can get involved in election-related activities just for kids. Online election activities are available at sites, such as PBS.org