As you are probably aware, today is a national election day. We’ve written before about how important and inspiring civic participation can be for kids. One way to do this is to involve your children in the voting process — and in fact, we’ve got some tips:
Now, you may be thinking — why are we so happy on this off-year election day? Because it is still an opportunity to voice your opinion (and it’s your civic duty). It’s also a great year to teach kids about voting and take them along to your polling place. Things are quiet with the reduced turnout in a year like this and many of the races on your ballot will be local contests that your child can see in action all around them.
First and most importantly, Happy Election Day! Please, please, please refer to Fair Play’s post from Sunday about creating good voting habits in childhood. Today’s the day to put those pointers into action. I want to use this post to discuss inspiring civic participation more generally. It has taken a lifetime of varied experiences to understand my role in our democracy and I’m going to share some of those here. In particular we’re going to talk about engaging with representatives — both voicing opinions and volunteering for campaigns.
We’ve been hearing a lot about early voting this election cycle — voting before election day — and having worked on numerous recounts, I have a lot of opinions about early voting, which I will keep to myself. Today I want to talk about a different kind of early voting — teaching children to vote. In our house, civic duty means two things: you vote in every election, and you attend jury duty with a smile. Also, in our house, to teach important lessons about being a grownup, my parents took us along to see them firsthand. Or, perhaps that was because they both worked a lot. In any case, it means I am now a grownup myself and I have not missed an election (primaries and special elections included) since my birth. Since I grew up in Washington state, that means a LOT of elections.