More and more families are having open conversations about big issues, including politics. We most often associate politics with big moments in history, things like presidential elections. But when you boil it down, politics is how people in groups make decisions, at many different levels. Here are some ideas of how to introduce this concept of politics, voting, and what it means to be a citizen to your kid.
What is voting? For the last presidential election, PBS kids did a whole series of You Choose videos to highlight the importance of using your voice to make change. This video is a great introduction to what it means to vote.
What option is best? Debate is one of the best tools to share your point of view, encourage change, and invite people to consider different opinions. The podcast Smash, Boom, Best does an amazing job of modeling debate with important match ups to find out which is best, like Tacos vs. Pizza or Libraries vs. Museums (we know the right answer to that one!). Once you get the hang of it, your family can host your own debate. Who will argue for what side? What are your reasons for or against the topic?
Take a look at local and state politics. Who represents you in the city? What about the state? How do they make decisions? Are they talking about issues that are important to you and your family? How could you let them know about what you are concerned about?
Have your child make a list of things that are important to them. What do they wish was different? How could it be changed?
Learn more! Check out these recommended books about voting and making a change. Learning to use our voice is an important tool in creating future voters!
Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America by Deborah Diesen. For K-3rd graders. Who can vote? Learn how that answer has changed throughout America’s history.
What’s the Big Deal about Elections by Ruby Shamir. For K-3rd grader. Find out how we choose are leaders and how our government works.
When You Grow Up to Vote by Eleanor Roosevelt. For K-5th graders. Originally written right before she became first lady, this updated version looks at citizenship, government workers at all levels, and politics from local to national.
Vote for Our Future by Margaret McNamara. For K-3rd graders. The students find out that their school is a polling place and encourage their neighborhood to come out and vote.
You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World by Caroline Paul. For 3rd and up. What does it mean to be a good citizen? Kids can find out how to fight for justice, take action, and learn from other kid leaders.
You Got This! by Maya S. Penn. For 3rd and up. With a TED talk has over 1.6 million views, designer, activist and entrepreneur, Maya has a guide book for any kid wanting to take their ideas to make change.
Be the Change by Eunice Moyle and Sabrina Moyle. For 3rd and up. This is a creative and practical guide that offers concrete examples of ways to do more with your words and actions.
How to Make a Better World by Keilly Swift. For 3rd and up. How can kids be world-changers? Kids can find out what it means to be a citizen and how to use their voice.