Happy Election Day! While this election isn’t as exciting as next year’s will be, every election matters and is important to be involved in. By taking the time to cast your vote, you are telling your country that you have an opinion and issues that matter to you and you want those heard. Lots of people like to complain about how the country, their state or city or town is run, but, in my opinion, you only get the right to complain AFTER you have showcased your voice in an election. I think our right to vote is one of the best of our inalienable rights we are granted by in the Constitution. With each vote, we are getting an opportunity to help to choose the people we think are best suited to hold positions in government and to choose the laws we think are best for our community. Voting, though, isn’t just important for adults to do, but it’s important for kids to be apart of as well! While our kids aren’t actually allowed to vote in an election until they are 18, getting them interested now is so important. If you have reluctant kids, these 10 ways to get your kids excited about the election should help to stir up interest in this essential part of our government!
To help raise globally responsible citizens, it’s so important to show to your kids how important voting is- every single election! I always find it sad how may people just don’t use their right to vote, and I truly don’t understand it. I have voted every single year since I turned 18 and don’t ever plan on missing one. Our right to vote makes us all equal- every single one of us gets one vote, one chance to say “this is what I think is best for our country”; and while we don’t always get the outcome we want, at least we can say we are invested in our country, it’s policies and it’s leaders. That’s why teaching our kids this lesson is so important. I know that kids that grow up seeing their parents vote and telling them WHY they are voting, are way more likely to vote when they are adults. It’s important to get them excited about it when they are young so they will continue on with it when they are adults! Here are some simple ways to help get them excited about the election this year:
Take your kids to the voting booth with you.
Explain what you are doing and what a special right it is. Chances are, they’ll remember that when they are old enough to go on their own- and they’ll get a sticker too!
Watch the debates with your kids.
Explain who the candidates are and how the debate process works. Ask THEIR opinions about the important issues. While I am defeintly want to instill some of our beliefs into our kids, I also want them know that their opinion and beliefs matter and that they are allowed to make up their own minds when they are adults too.
Read and research the electoral process
Look online and read books that teach your kids about government and how it works. Do they think that each person’s votes actually determines who wins the Presidency? Then it’s time to teach them about the electoral college!
Stage your own debate at home
Set up some faux podiums and have your kids battle out on the issues that matter to them. Have them try and convince YOU to change your mind. Sure, extra TV time may not be important to you, but allowing them to express their opinions in a logical way, is a great life skill.
Get involved in a campaign
If you are passionate about a particular candidate, whether it’s for president or just for the local school board, show your kids this by taking them to their campaign head quarters and asking if there is a way you can help.
Have a mini election
Use the power of the electoral process at home to decide some things: whether it’s whats dinner or what board game to play, using a simple vote can show kids that their opinion matters.
Write a letter to the President
Did you know that anyone can call or write a letter to the President? You and I both know that he probably can’t read them all, but allowing your kids the chance to express something that’s important to them will make the government feel smaller and more accessible to them. Each child needs to grow up knowing that their one vote and voice matters. Check out whitehouse.gov for the address!
Teach your kids about Respectful Disagreement
Like I said above, I definitely hope to install some important beliefs my husband and I share onto our children, but it’s important for them to understand why it’s important for them to make up their own minds. You absolutely can tell your kids who you’re voting for and why. Elections are a wonderful time to teach kids that it is perfectly fine to disagree with people—but that we need to listen to other ideas with respect. One easy way to do this is to talk about a close family member pr a friend who happens to have different political views. Try to keep the tone neutral and positive.
Make Election Day like a Holiday
Celebrate this day for how important it is for our country: wear red, white and blue; eat red, white and blue foods and make some simple red, white and blue decorations to celebrate!
Watch the election
If your kids are old enough, let them stay up late as the votes roll in. Show them how exciting it is to be apart of history like that!
So, starting today, lets all promise to one another to get our kids involved in elections and teaching them how important it is to vote and be an active member of our political system- not for us, but for them, their future and their future kid’s future!
Do you take your kids to vote with you?
For more kid friendly information on learning about our political system, check out these websites!