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Election Day: Including Your Child in the Conversation

By: MaryFran Anderson

Election day is here and, while nothing is ever new under the sun, this particular election does feel charged with a novel amount of angst, excitement, and uncertainty.

So do you tell your child about this day where time halts in our country? Do you start a conversation with them about politics at all? Parkside would argue that, whether your child is consciously aware of it or not, they are already hearing all about the election throughout their everyday life. And, since they’re already receiving bits and pieces of perspective from friends, TV commercials, and other adults, why not address the elephant in the room—or the donkey!—and talk to your child about our nation’s culture and practices from your point of view?

How to Appropriately Include Your Child in the 2020 Election
  • Assess their age. Obviously, a conversation will look quite different between a parent and their two year old vs. a care taker and their teenager. That said, your child is never too young to engage in honest conversation. If your child is younger, focus on just telling them the general pieces of election day and/or read them a book about voting and using their voice. If your child is older, your conversation may look like telling them who you are voting for and why. Either way, leave space for your child’s questions and don’t put pressure on yourself to have all the right answers.
  • Utilize Election Day as a springboard for other topics. This will look different for every parent in every home. Highlight social topics that you feel are relevant in today’s society and listen to your child’s point of view. You just may enter into a much more productive conversation than you could have even imagined.
  • Remind your child that election day, and it’s subsequent outcome, is not the end of the world…or even the start of a perfect utopian existence. We are lucky enough to live in a country where we do not have a dictator ruling over our every decision. Despite the outcome of the 2020 election, or any election there after, our country thankfully has other systems in place that hold just as much power as any one individual.

Regardless of your political views, we encourage you to include your child in the conversation when it comes to Election Day. Giving them tools to process what is happening in the world around them can be one of the greatest gifts you give as a parent.

In our family, one truth I’ve really tried to cling to in the past couple of months is the fact that: The United States, while exceptional, is not our kingdom. I try to encourage my children—and myself— to look beyond our country, and even our world, and place their hope in a heavenly father. A true king who is not up for re-election. Ever.

Until next time,

MaryFran Anderson

Parkside Community Engagement Coordinator, mother of two, and guacamole enthusiast

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