Voting has always been important to me. Ever since I could vote (my first time was in 2004) I’ve made the effort to get to the polls or mail in my ballot if I knew I wouldn’t be able to vote in person. Maybe it’s the history teacher in me, but I never miss my chance to vote.
Now that we have Graham, I feel like it’s even more important. We take him with us to the polls and he seems to really enjoy it. He stands with us while we fill in our ballots and of course he loves getting stickers when he leaves.
Since there’s a big presidential election coming up this November, I figured I would give you a few tips to get the most out of voting with the next generation.
- Take your kids! It’s great for them to see you doing your civic duty and learning about the process. When I lived in Kentucky, the schools were closed on election day because they were precincts, so that made it a little easier. But down here it takes some effort and planning – all well worth it!
- Let your kids see you doing research on the candidates. They should understand that voting isn’t making a snap decision based on whose name you just saw on a sign on the side of the road or who your friends are voting for. It should be an informed decision that’s taken seriously.
- If they’re old enough, let your kids do their own research. Give them a sample ballot and let them fill in the bubbles based on what they learned about the candidates.
- Do your best not to sway their opinions too far. This is a hard one, as most of us base our early political ideas on those of our parents, but try your best to let them have their own ideas. Obviously you can and should share your beliefs with your kids, but when it comes to politics, they should be informed enough to feel confident in their beliefs (even if they don’t match yours!). This will help them to become confident voters when they’re actually old enough!
Do you usually take your kids to the polls? What do they think of the process?