Giving your child the ability and motivation to become an active part in their own life is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Teaching a child that they have their own voice and are free to make their own decisions can help them carry themselves throughout adulthood. Teaching your children that having the power to vote is their right and they have a responsibility to understand and follow politics to make informed decisions.
At the elementary school level, children can start developing an understanding of the different political parties and the different platforms that are being presented during the elections. This age is where kids start to learn about American history, politics, and democracy. Talk to your children about the political parties and what is being discussed on television and social media. You can share your views with them but don’t force your views on them and give them resources to make their own decisions.
Around this age, children start developing their own passions and interests. Much like pre-schoolers, they enjoy visiting voting booths, attending town hall meetings, and taking trips to museums and state buildings. Election time is the perfect time to start getting your child actively involved. They will start to build connections with what they find most interesting and forming their own political belief systems. Soon they may start asking which events or trips to go on. Also, take the time to ask about their opinions and views on the current political debates and races. This can create an open channel of communication about their involvement.
Elementary school children are able to read and comprehend books better than younger children. It may be good to start having your child read books that inform them about the political process or how the U.S. government works. Of course, don’t start your child off with difficult literature that is difficult to comprehend, it may make the child lose interest in politics. Instead, find books that are at your child’s reading level.
Teaching your child about the world of politics doesn’t have to be a dull endeavor for you or your child. Include them in your conversations and support them in getting involved in community events.