Bring the kids along to vote and teach them a valuable lesson.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
My older son is 5, not quite old enough to vote. But that doesn't mean I haven't talked to him about the importance of voting on Election Day. I've used 11 ways to teach your kids about the election process as my personal guide to show him how important voting is for every citizen.
We've discussed the candidates, the Electoral College vs. popular vote and even held a mock election. Our mock election was a bit different than what you would expect, though.
We voted yes/no on liking green beans (green beans lost), our dog (an easy win) and ice cream (a landslide victory). He enjoyed voting and wants to "cast his ballot" on everything now, from which playground we'll go to this week to what we'll be eating for dinner.
Voting in the 2012 election was a proud mama moment because of all we've been learning about voting and the political process. This was the first year my older son understand what my husband and I were actually doing when we went to our polling center.
My son knew we needed to show our ID, sign our names, pick up our ballots and find a place to sit so we could vote. Mommy did forget to tell him that he wouldn't actually get to vote in the presidential election so when we sat down and he asked, "Where's my ballot?", I had a quick sidebar lesson on how old you have to be to actually vote!
I voted while holding a wiggly one year old and with my five year old sitting so patiently watching me cast my vote. He was thrilled when the poll workers also gave him an "I Voted" sticker. I think he earned it.
While that was the highlight of our day so far, we'll also be watching the results come in this evening. I even got him to take a nap this afternoon so he could stay up late and watch election night coverage. Score one for mom!
For us, it's not about our candidates winning or losing. He understands people will win and people will lose the election. And that's okay. What I'm teaching him isn't about voting Republican, Democrat or for another party.
My lesson for him is simple: just vote.