I’ve been voting especially for 20 years and I don’t remember an election cycle that was more controversial than all we are experiencing today. Even for a small child, it is almost impossible to ignore the tension in our country and communities in the upcoming presidential election. Children do not need to understand the details about the election period to know that adults have great emotions (positive and negative) about it. Then how do you tell your kids about the upcoming election?
Ask What They Want to Know
A good way to start a talk about any likely difficult topic is to check in with your child about what they want to know or how confused they feel so you can fill in any knowledge gaps. It will also allow your child’s interests to shape the conversation. When I asked my seven -year -old, “What are your questions about the upcoming election?” He responded by saying he wanted to know about how to collect and count votes. On the other hand, when I asked my ten-year-old the same question, he said he wanted to know more details about the platforms of specific candidates. For young children who don’t know what to ask, a fun start to the conversation is, “what will you do on your first day as President?”
Create an Opportunity for Empathy
This and every election is a great opportunity to help your children understand that everyone has different opinions and feelings about a given issue. The way people choose an election reflects the issues they value most.
Practice the voting process by voting in a family on the hot-button topic. Maybe your family has always disagreed on how different it is to order on a Friday night. Ask your child to run a family vote on what the choice is for dinner this week: burger or pizza. Your child will be tasked not only with collecting votes, but also by asking each voter to explain what they think is their best choice. It helps lay the foundation of thoughtful empathy and teaches children how adults can make thoughtful political decisions in line with the allocated amounts of a specific candidate.
Be Their role model and safe place
Children will some day interact with the world as adults based (at least in part) on how we navigate instructive, memorable moments in their childhood. I decided to make this choice once in a while to teach my children about the world they would inherit from me in the future. Some of my kids may be able to vote in a Presidential election within the next decade! The way I talk about this election and the action I will take will teach my children what I value and how I feel about our country and democracy.
Manage my own selection anxiety through practicing mindfulness is a great way I can model for my kids how to manage multiple emotions in a stressful time.
Above all, you also need to reassure your children that your family is a safe place where they can express their ideas, concerns, and fears, and know that you will do your best to protect and protect them. respect them.
I am Claire, a Bright Horizons employee and mother of three school -going children. I have spent years as a child care educator and researcher, as well as a writer, writing about the ups and downs of becoming a mother. I believe that writing honestly about parenting is the best way to celebrate the joys and normalize the challenges we all face. I live in MA and in my spare time I enjoy hiking with my dog and reading.