Blue states vs. red states. Presidential debates and partisan issues. Mud-slinging campaign commercials. And of course, nonstop CNN coverage. Yep-It’s election time! From now until November 6th, we’ll all be bombarded with coverage of the 2012 Presidential Election.
But adults aren’t the only ones taking in these campaign messages. Our kids are also hearing about the issues, and are keenly aware of the impending election. My six year old has already declared herself to be a staunch Obama supporter! Her interest in politics is more than just a cute fad, it’s an excellent opportunity to help make her social studies and civics lessons come alive.
There are several great ideas that we as parents can use to get your kids interested in the political process:
Kiddie-Size the Voter Registration Drive. Rene Syler of TLC’s “Parentables” website, suggests getting your kids to create a voter’s registration campaign right in your front yard, at your local community center or at your neighborhood grocery store. It’s simple. Just make voter registration forms available and have your kids create colorful signs to publicize the event. Most state voter’s registration deadlines have closed for the current presidential election, there’s no reason why you can’t use this idea for future state or local elections.
Make Debate Night a Family Affair. Most kids get excited about family movie night. We’ll you can bring the same excitement to the televised debates. Gather up the kids, pop the popcorn, order that pizza and watch the debates. You’ll be surprised how much your kids understand, and this will encourage your own lively family debate about the issues.
Create a Virtual Campaign. If your child is old enough to use social media (with your permission of course), then they are probably old enough to have selected their favorite candidate. Talk with them about why they favor one candidate over the other. Encourage them to voice their thoughts to their friends through social media outlets. They can even upload videos and photos of their favorite candidate. Warn them that their friends may not share their thoughts, but help them understand that open dialogue is critical to democracy.
Get Out The Vote – With Your Kids. There are hundreds of registered voters who don’t make it to the polls on Election Day. You can work with your kids to spearhead a “Get Out The Vote” campaign. Have them call family members and family friends several days before the election to remind them to vote. Go with them door to door reminding neighbors as well. You and your kids can even use your car to take senior citizens or friends without cars to the polls.
With these ideas, your kids will not only love being involved in the electoral process, but they’ll learn something too! Remember, informed future leaders aren’t born. They’re made by parents who teach civic responsibility at an early age.
Moms, what are you doing to get your little ones involved in Election 2012?
Words By: Yolanda Darville