Whether you realize it or not, your actions now can determine your child’s political motivations and participation in the future. There are a number of things you can do to foster an interest in the political world with your children now that will serve them well when they reach adulthood and tackle these issues on their own. Here are just a few ways to keep your children involved in the political process.
Take Your Child To The Booth
We lead by example and what better way to show the importance of voting than to allow your child to actually see you place your vote. Take your child into the voting booth with you. By watching you vote, you are modeling the importance of voting without ever having to delve into the nitty gritty of politics. This one simple action could be motivation for your child as an adult to step into the booth as well.
Elections make the perfect time for a civics and American government lesson. Use elections to discuss how our constitution is set-up and how our offices are filled. Depending on the age of your child you can discuss different aspects of the political process and make up of our government. For example, there are two Senators for each state or what is the job description of the vice president. You may be surprised at how interested your children become in the subject and it can open lines of communication to answer any questions they may have.
Shaping Your Child’s Political Views
Whether or not you want your particular views to rub off on your child or not is entirely up to you as a parent. However, discussing political candidates and why you support the candidate you have chosen is a great way to converse with your child about politics and the political process. You can let the child ask you questions about a particular candidate or view, but remember children are sponges and absorb all you say. Pay special attention when discussing candidates you do not endorse or maybe don’t even care for as a person. You can explain that other people like a particular candidate for a variety of reasons and let your child know that is the great thing about living here in America. We have the opportunity to vote for who we choose and so does everyone else.
You may not always agree with your child (especially a teenager) on their views, but by opening up the conversation you are getting them engaged in the political process which is the key.
I love this idea from takeyourkids2vote.org. Set up a mock debate for your children. This can be something like debating certain household chores. It will allow your child the opportunity to put into words why they feel the way they do about issues as well as listen to the other side of the story. This is a wonderful life lesson that is great for not only elections but just everyday life events
What ways do you plan to keep your children involved in politics?