Mid-term elections are just around the corner. With all the House of representative seats and roughly ⅓ of the Senate seats up for grabs these biennial elections are really important in the lives of American families. Luckily, it is never too early to get your kids involved in the democratic process. By involving them at a young age and teaching them the importance of being an informed voter, you can be assured they will take to the polls (and make their opinions be known) when they turn 18. Here are some ways as a family to support your favorite candidates and make a difference:
- Talk to your kids about the different branches of government and why it is important to have checks and balances. This Brain Pop video is a great place to get started.
- Ask your kids what qualities they think are important in a candidate? Why?
- Look at your local ballot and do some research on the candidates. Discuss which candidates they would want to vote for and why? Make sure to ask questions and listen.
- Share the issues that you care about most with your kids and what you look for in a candidate. Make sure to look at the source when you are doing research. Talk to them about using reliable sources and help your child sort through the truth and distortion in political advertising.
- Have a postcard writing party for a favorite candidate. Kids may be too young to make phone calls or knock on doors but they can definitely help write postcards for a favorite candidate. Brainstorm a few reasons why they think the candidate is qualified and write them down. Kids can choose one or two of the reasons and write it on the postcard. Many candidates even have a template that they can give you and a list of addresses. Add some snacks and some friends and turn it into a party!
2. Go to local events where candidates are speaking. Even though kids can’t cast a vote yet, it is never to early to have them see democracy in action. Discuss what they liked or didn’t like about the candidate. What issues did the candidate discuss that were important to your child? What issues will affect them directly (education, immigration, etc)? Also discuss the issues that affect other groups of people. How will others be affected by these policies?
3. Make sure the adults in your life are voting. Even though kids can’t vote, they can make sure that family and friends have a voting plan. They can ask grandparents, aunts and uncles to go out and vote, make sure they are registered to vote and help them find out where to vote. Kids can also share information about their favorite candidates and why they think that they would be a good choice. https://www.vote411.org/
4. Use your personal skills and passions to help your candidate. Maybe your child is great at art and can create and share a fun image that will make people think. Maybe they love to make music and want to write a song that will inspire people. They can use their writing abilities in the school newspaper, or they can apply their cookie-making abilities at a bake sale. We can each contribute in our own ways.
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