Good Citizenship & Voting: Teaching Your Child How To Participate In a Democracy
There are two things you shouldn’t discuss at the dinner table – politics and religion. We have all heard that, and though those two points are quite contentious, with the proper education, even these topics should be able to be added to our nightly chats.
This can be accomplished by teaching our children about voting and understanding the issues at a young age. By teaching these concepts early, we will be able to raise good and respectful citizens.
How do you do that, though, when they constantly see news and hear conversations that are so filled with vitriol and untruths? We have a few ideas that might help with teaching your child how to participate in democracy and how to do so both intentionally and kindly.
It’s All About the Concept
No matter how young your child is, they can grasp the general concept of everyone having their say in decisions. They are also able to understand that the decision often goes with the majority. You can make this concept even more understood by having a little election in the home.
Maybe set the “election” up so that everyone can vote on Friday night dinner or what movie you will all watch on family movie night. No matter what you are voting on, let everyone give their pitch about why their idea is best, and then follow that with a vote. It will make the process fun and will provide them with a good idea of what democracy is.
Sharing & Respecting
One of the best ways to help your child begin to develop their own thoughts on government and voting is to share with them what you believe. Explain why you are voting that way.
When you do this, though, you can also make the conversation even more useful by discussing the opposition’s beliefs. Do this in a respectful way and teach your child it is okay to have different opinions. This will help them learn how to respectfully disagree, which is a significant part of a working democracy.
Math & Election Results
You can also put a little education into the plan to get your little ones engaged in the government and voting. When you look at election results, use math skills to explain what is going on in the races.
You can use jars and candies, and as the results come in, place the number of candies in their jar relative to the number of votes that each candidate gets. This will be a great visual way to represent what is happening and will allow them to use their math skills, too.
Voting is one of the most powerful tools we have to make a change. Teaching your child how to be a good citizen and the power of that vote at an early age will help maintain a future where everyone is represented fairly in the government.