Teach Your Minis How to be Excellent Citizens Early On
Don’t wait until your child can legally vote to educate on the election process, but instead use the elections throughout their lives to teach them about the value of voting. I know, you’re sitting there thinking, “How can I possibly teach my four-year-old about the concept of voting?”. Well, you’re in luck, we’ve put together basic voting knowledge and FOUR fun ways to educate your minis.
Basic Election Information for a Toddler
Every four years the citizens of the United States of America get the privilege to vote for their president and for state and local officials on Election Day, which is on Tuesday of the first full week of November. The 2020 election will mark this country’s 46th presidential election. Any United States citizen can vote either through early voting or on Election Day. As your children age, you can add more details, but start with the basics for your toddlers. The most important thing to do is to make a big deal out of voting because learned behavior is real and if your kids see you making a big deal about it and voting, then they will want to make a big deal about it and vote when they come of age.
- Create a Lovie Election
Yes, you read that right – gather those lovies your minis love so much and create an election! Remember that kids learn from doing in the early stages, they are exceptionally hands on and are soaking up EVERYTHING, including the news. You can use this time to discuss some of those “scary” news stories they heard earlier. Below is a photo of my son and I re-enacting a debate. He chose to be Woody and I was Buzz. We discussed our platforms; Buzz was going to create total equality and Woody was going to “let kids see their friends by magically ending the Coronavirus like the Genie from Aladdin”. Like I said, it’s amazing what these kids soak in. We created ballots and as a family we voted on a ballot, letting the baby point. Woody had three votes, while Buzz had one. I incorporated some math by discussing whoever has more votes wins, so I asked, well, “who won?”, he was very pleased to say Woody! Don’t stop here though – teach your children democracy in everyday life – vote on what game you are going to play, what movie you are going to watch, or what is for dinner that evening, just incorporating voting. It’s as easy as 1,2,3 and truly makes a difference in your child’s knowledge on voting.
- Use Storytime
Books, Books, Books! Did you know that November is Literacy month to begin with? So what better way to begin the celebration than by reading books about voting. Your kids are sure to love these books, especially the Dr. Seuss books (our personal favorites in this house).
- I Spy Election Signs and Respect for All
What’s more concrete than seeing a sign – NOTHING! And what child does not like the game “I Spy”?! Hunt down signs as you drive. Once you spot one, you are sure to spot everyone. Why stop at the Presidents? Look for all election signs, most have some red, white, or blue, so they are fairly easy to spot, even to your youngsters eyes. These are a few of the signs we have driven by and our favorite sign that sits in our yard is the “Vote! It Counts-“. This sign teaches my son to respect everyone’s voices and that each voice matters even if that voice does not voice our opinion. The Junior League of Collin County really outdid themselves when they created such an empowering reminder to vote because all voices matter. Use this time to teach your children respect for all.
- Use Videos
Screen time doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. This Daniel the Tiger episode teaches about voting through a playground vote with a ballot and ballot box. This is a cute way to help your child understand voting through a means that he/she enjoys. I mean, if you aren’t using Daniel the Tiger, are you even parenting (I say this as I just learned about the amazingness of Daniel the Tiger).
We hope these nifty tips and tricks assist you with teaching your little nuggets about the value of voting. If you have already begun to teach your infants/toddlers about the election process, please comment below with your own tips. We look forward to reading them and implementing them in our own homes.
About the Author
Lauren is a mom of two kids, Wyatt (4) & Audrey (almost 1) … & the fur baby, also known as the OG, Luna Bella. (Oh & Mustard the fish). She is married to one heck of a guy, Troy, who she met in college. She has a Bachelors in Behavioral Analysis and a Masters in Social Work, currently she is navigating the life of a full time working mom as a hospice social worker for Centric, but has also juggled the jobs of stay at home mom & work at night mom. She is the RED playgroup coordinator and a member of the YELLOW playgroup. She loves cold brew, crafting, reading, and margarita nights with the hubs.