Given the current climate and upcoming inauguration, children will inevitably have questions about politics, elections, and their own role within our society. What was once a taboo topic is now commonplace to promote citizenship and engagement. But how to we begin to unpack the complicated process that is our democracy?
Here are five tips we’ve compiled to help you navigate your conversations and actions
TIPS FOR NAVIGATING CONVERSATIONS AND ACTIONS
1. Talk ISSUES Not Politics
- It is never too early to talk to your kids about the things that matter. Talking about issues are more accessible and familiar. Ask, “Do you think it’s fair that the rules are this way?” and “If you could make the rules, what would you do?”
2. Connect Our Laws to Their Lives
- We encounter government everyday! When you drive past a construction site or play on a new playground, explain to your kids that it was made possible through tax dollars spent to improve the community.
- Click HERE for a FREE PowerPoint geared towards high schoolers explaining the connection between their money, taxes, and ultimately their voice in the political system:
3. Teach Digital Literacy
- When a political ad pops up, analyze it.
- Keep kids thinking critically by asking:
- Who created this and what do they want me to do?
- How are they try to persuade me?
- Are they using facts, fear, or stereotypes?
- How can I learn more and what reliable sources can I check?
- Click HERE for a FREE printable to help kids analyze ads and propaganda.
4. Agree to Disagree
- Teach children that they will run into people who will disagree with them and vote differently. Tell the, it is important to treat people with respect. Also, you can talk about how it is ok to still be friends with people who see things differently than they do.
- Click HERE for an article from the website Newsela.com written for middle and high school students. It discusses how to listen to understand different opinions and view points:
5. Get Your Kids Involved!
- Vote. Let you children know who you are voting for and WHY
- Involve them in your own community outreach. Ask your kids what THEY care about and find ways to give back that reflect their interests.
Remember, we don’t have all the answers! If your child comes to you with a question you cannot answer, tell them, “That is a great question that I don’t have the answer to yet. I am still learning too. Let me look into that tonight and we can discuss it tomorrow.” Democracy is ours to grow and protect. Through conversation, compassion, education, and action, we can raise the next generation to be active citizen that propel democracy to greater heights.