Introducing your Kids to Politics

Whether you like it or not, it’s that time again. Election season is upon us and we are about to be bombarded by political campaigns and an abundant amount of those oh-so-fun commercials and phone calls we all have grown to love. Kidding, of course, but you just have to accept it and honestly, should embrace it and use it as a great way to introduce your children to politics.

As kids grow up, more and more they are thrown into the political world and it is so important that they know and fully grasp the concept, so when they turn the big 1-8, they know and understand the who, what and why on whom they’re voting for.

No matter the age, there are fun ways to slowly introduce them to the world of politics. Here are a few ways!

Toddlers and Pre-k:

With younger kids you can get them out in the community. Say the local playground could use some work, take them there to pick up trash and tell them why it is important to care about and improve the community they live in. Sell lemonade on a hot day and raise money to build a safer playground! This will teach them the process of raising awareness, gathering funds and hopefully having a successful outcome. Just like in an election!

Another way to teach young kids about voting is to set up a voting booth! At this age, kids can understand voting and debating for things they are passionate about. It doesn’t have to be about whom the next president will be, it could be voting for where to go on the next Family Night Out or what will be for dessert after dinner. Let them set up the booth and fill out ballots. When the voting is over, tally up the votes and see who wins! This will teach them the concept of voting in a fun way.

Kindergarten- 6th grade:

When they enter elementary school, they could be doing a book report on rare and extinct animals. When your child comes home from school, they tell you how they feel bad that animals in the wild are becoming extinct due to poachers. Sit them down and have them write a letter to the President explaining how they feel. They need to know that their thoughts and opinions matter and learn ways to express concern, just like adults do. It is a known fact that kids can always write to the President and often get a response back.

If your child wants to write to The President to express their concern, here are the official rules and here’s that oh-so-famous address:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

There are also a number of books you can read to your children that are fun and educational. Some great books are “Duck for President” by Doreen Cronin or “President Pennybaker” by Kate Feiffer. Both are geared towards 4-8 year olds and help them learn about politics in ways they can comprehend.

For instance, in “Duck for President,” Duck is frustrated over the farmer’s rules and starts his own election to become the president of the farm. Duck then travels to see elected officials (including the president) to better understand how an election is run. Using animals with fun illustrations and humor, kids won’t even know they’re learning about politics! 

Jr. High-High School:

This is the most pivotal time for kids to really understand politics. In a few years, they will be voting and need to know what side they are on and what they believe in. Take them to events where political figures are speaking to the public. It doesn’t matter if it’s a president elect or even your local state representative. Take them so they understand that their voice matters. 

On the ride home, ask them how they felt about it. Did they have any questions? Did they agree with the speaker? Do they side more with the Republican Party or the Democratic Party? Get them involved and don’t be afraid to ask them. Their beliefs may even differ from your own. That will make for fun dinner party conversation! And absolutely take them voting with you, have them watch the debates and explain to them WHY you are voting for someone. Ask who they would vote for and why. They will learn about how the government works in school, but need to have a more personal connection with it and as their parent, you are just the person to show them the ropes. 

It really is important to take the time to teach your children about politics. Starting slowly and at an early age will help them learn young and will give them great confidence throughout their life. It shows them just how important it is to get out there and voice their opinion. They are the future, so let’s make it a good one. 

For ideas on how to teach your children to be generous, check out How to Teach Generosity to Children and for tips on teaching manners and exuding gratitude toward others, check out How to Encourage an Attitude of Gratitude.

Photo Credit: St. John Photography, Kinder CareSarah and Andrew Aliferis.  

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Melissa Ricci

Melissa lives outside of Boston, MA with her husband, Jon and two adorable kids, Jack and Marin. This busy stay-at-home-Momma, is happiest when spending time with her family and friends. Apart from being a devoted wife, mother, daughter and friend, Melissa is a full-time blogger for her personal blog All Sorts of Ricci and a part-time photographer. She enjoys strolls on the beach, a heated game of Catchphrase, family get-togethers and anyone who can make her laugh.

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