Election Day is coming up on Nov. 3 and with a presidential election this year, it’s a great opportunity to discuss the concept of voting with your kids. While politics might seem like a complicated topic for them, it’s never too early to teach our future voters. Here are some engaging ways to get your kids involved in election season.
Explain the voting process
Kids as young as the age of two can begin to understand why voting is an important right to exercise. For your littles, explain how voting works by incorporating it in their everyday life. You can practice by voting for what to eat for dinner or your favorite animal. Parents with older kids can dive into the details of the U.S. presidential election process with this helpful guide from usa.gov.
There are plenty of books about voting to give younger kids a better understand on how important it is. For toddlers and early readers, read The President of the Jungle gives a fun, non-partisan take on the election process. Older kids can flip through We Are the Change, which puts a spotlight on famous world leaders and activists.
Wear voting gear
It’s never too early to rock the vote! Buy voting pins or make this DIY future voter button to wear out in public and encourage others to vote. Makoshey, a children’s clothing company, just released an Election 2020 collection and Kido Chicago has the most adorable “Vote” onesies and t-shirts for your babies.
Watch the debates and discuss the candidates
Tune in to watch the presidential debates, which serve as a great starting point to discuss the candidates with your older children and teens. The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance shares some great tips for parents to follow when watching with kids. They advise to avoid watching any political experts before the debate and turn off the TV when done to ask kids first on what they thought of the debate.
Focus on local issues, too
The presidential election doesn’t have to be your only focus during this election season. What are some issues happening in your town or state? Review what’s on your ballot and brush on a few topics to help explain to kids that voting locally matters too.
Take your kids to vote
Due to the pandemic, you might not be able to bring your child to the polling place this year, but you can still celebrate at home by showing them your “I Voted!” sticker or teaching them how mail-in voting works.
Talk about political ads
Political ads can take the turn for the worse as we get closer to Election Day. If your child happens to stumble across these ads online or while watching TV, explain to them what they are and how to consume them. Common Sense Media breaks it down for us on what to say to kids about these negative political ads.
Watch election night
There’s no doubt that many eyes will be glued to the TV on election night. Let your kids join in on the viewing party and explain to them how the electoral college works. This printable election coloring map from Urban Bliss Life can even help keep your younger kids engaged.
Let them share their opinion
At the end of the day, it’s important for children to understand how they can form their own opinions. Listen to them during this election season as they ask questions and guide them to make their own decisions. This election season serves a reminder that everyone, including kids, have the right to share their voice.