By Mia Salas
There is a lot going on in the world and with the election year coming up we are about to be inundated (even more than usual) with politics.
Talking to your kids about politics isn’t easy. It’s hard to explain very large, complicated concepts in a way that your children will understand and absorb. But it’s nonetheless important to teach them about the world around us– the good and bad, the resolutions and conflicts.
With the 2024 presidential election coming up, it’s about time to chat with your kiddos about what to expect. So how exactly do you explain politics to your children? Read on for a few tips and tricks!
Psst… Here are 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About the Importance of Voting!
Picture books are a great way to teach kids political concepts and conflicts. Here are some books to try:
- Vote by Eileen Christelow: Your kids will learn how democracy works via this fun picture book all about voting.
- Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio: Grace embarks on her journey to be the first ever female president. This is a great book for young girls to be inspired and learn more about the electoral system.
- Just Help! How to Build a Better World by Sonia Sotomayer: In a story inspired by her own family’s desire to help others, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor takes young readers on a journey through a neighborhood where everyone helps each other to build a better world for themselves and their community.
Watch TV shows and movies
Shows and movies are another immersive way to teach politics. Try out these:
- PBS Crash Course: Online episodes that teach kids about democracy, economy and how our judicial system works.
- Well-Versed: Not out yet, but stay tuned for Jill Biden’s new show with Nickelodeon that will teach kids all about civics!
Museums are a fun, interactive way for kids to learn about history and understand more about our government today. Here are some of our favorite NYC museums:
- American Museum of Natural History: Although not primarily focused on politics, this museum is loaded with American history. See a range of exhibits or join one of the children & family workshops.
- National Immigration Museum: Teach your kids about American immigration through a collection of photos, heirlooms and historical records.
Avoid making them choose a side
The pressure to pick one side can feel overwhelming, especially for little ones. Do your best to talk about the issues, not the contrasting opinions about them. This will also help your kids develop their own opinion on the subject.
Let them ask questions
It’s natural for kids to have a lot of questions about politics, and you might not have all the answers. That’s okay! Still keep the floor open for their questions so they feel heard. Curiosity is something we all strive to encourage as parents, even when the answers aren’t as clear.
Use real life examples
Examples help ground your kids in things they already know, making it easier to explain political concepts. Even explaining to them that American women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920. Think about scenarios they encounter day-to-day and apply them to the issues at hand.
Bring your kids to the polls
Okay, we know, the lines can be long. But if possible there’s nothing like experiencing politics right in front of your eyes and bringing your kids along with you to vote is an educational experience in itself by showing them what the the process looks like.