With the election right around the corner, media coverage of the election is everywhere and often finding its way down to children of all ages. As with other news topics, children may be exposed to hearing and seeing things they do not fully understand. As parents, it is important to be mindful of what your child is exposed to and also to support your child through answering their questions and managing their concerns.
Monitor Election Coverage
Political advertisements and news coverage may come across scary or worrisome to some children. Moreover, some media coverage does not sensor language. It is important to be mindful of what your child is hearing and to step in when “teachable moments” appear. Also be conscious of what your child may be overhearing during conversations you have with your friends or spouse.
Provide a Safe Space for Questions
Be prepared and create space for your child to ask questions about the election. These questions might range from asking about specific facts, to asking about mom and dad’s political orientation. Depending on your child’s age, the way you respond to these questions may range from simple (ie. the election takes place on Nov. 8) to more complex (ie. explaining your political position or discussing how your values impact who you vote for). As your child gets older, their values may begin to differ from yours. It is important to allow space for these types of conversations – as they can often strengthen the parent-child relationship.
Allow your Child to Participate
Make sure to teach your child about the election process and ask them what they’ve learned about it from school. Discuss with them, in age-appropriate language, what makes voting important and why voting is important to you. Children under 18 are even allowed to tag along with you to vote. Younger kids might even be interested in marking the ballot for you!
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!