Talking to Kids about the Election


With the election just a few weeks away, it's an opportunity for us to talk to our children about the election process, the right and importance to vote, and how and why to be involved in civil service. As we talk to kids about elections, here are a few tips to make sure we're doing it in a healthy, productive manner.


1. Ask Questions. Ask your kids what they know about the election, both federal elections and local elections. Ask them what they've heard about candidates. Don't just treat it like an episode of "Kids Say the Darnedest Thing" but really ask to understand where their understanding is at so YOU can have a good idea how to best approach the topic.


2. Teach Respect. We need to teach our kids that even if we don't like a specific elected official we can still value the institution, respect it, and trust the importance of the office. It's important to be careful not to model respectful dialogue about people you do not agree with politically so our kids see US being respectful (even if politicians aren't being respectful at all)! As difficult as it may be, we need to make sure we're being as respectful about candidates as possible.


3. Teach the History. Help your kiddos learn about our constitution, the founding fathers, and American history. This will encourage kids to be appreciative of our government- even if it is flawed. This might mean WE have to bone up a bit on some information. When your kids ask you a question that you don't know the answer to, don't be afraid to tell them that you don't know, but you can look up the answer together.


4. Teach Independence. As difficult as it might be to share your own political ideology with your kids in hopes of them adopting your ideas as their own, teach them the importance of them doing their own research and to find what they value in candidates and policies on their own. This will help them navigate hearing information from other sources and determining if the information is accurate for themselves. Teach them the beauty in people having discourse and disagreements without it becoming toxic and mean spirited.


What are some tips and tricks you have found to talk to your kids about the election?