campaigns are in high gear. Your childís early awareness of the process of
elections can help to guide him to become an informed voter when he grows up.
There is much that parents can do to make their children aware of this civic
- If you display a sign in front of your house
or a bumper sticker on your vehicle, you probably feel passionate about a
candidate or issue. Talk to your child about your choice.
- Follow newspaper articles about your
candidates and issues.
- Watch televised campaign speeches and debates.
- Talk with your children about how the issues
and the candidates affect you, your family, and your community.
- In the case of ballot initiatives, explain
both sides of the issues.
- Help your child to read the signs and bumper
stickers that you see when you are out together. Recognizing the symbols and
characteristics of printed literature is an excellent skill that correlates
to learning how to read.
- When the campaign literature arrives in the
mail, go over it with your child.
- If you get an absentee ballot, show your child
how it works. You can also show your child how you use it. If you feel that
your vote is private and to be kept to yourself, by all means tell that to
- If you are participating in a campaign, a
drive to register voters, or an effort to get out the vote, be sure that you
talk about this experience to your child.
- Talk about the various offices for which you
vote. Familiarize your child with the meaning of the terminology: city
councilman/woman, mayor, supervisor, assemblyman/woman, state senator,
United States Senator, representative, governor, vice president, president.
If you donít explain these jobs to your child, she may not know what they
- Explain that we respect each otherís views,
even if they are different from ours.
informed voter is both a right and a responsibility. Taking it seriously is one
way to set an example to your child.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.