The election 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 responsibility:
  • 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 your child.
  • 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 mean
  • Explain that we respect each otherís views, even if they are different from ours.

       Being an 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.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson