Transcript for How to talk to kids about politics
As we all process the daily toxicity and tumult of the 2020 election, there is one huge question for parents, how do we discuss this with our kids? Recently I spoke with Erin Geiger Smith, author of "Thank you for voting: The maddening, enlightening, inspiring truth about voting in America." Erin, good morning. So we know that kids are sponges. I have a 5-year-old and I hear him talking about various candidates all the time. We know they're picking up messages from the environment surrounding them, especially during a really contentious election year, so what should we be telling them about everything that's going on? Well, I think that we don't want to let a contentious election keep us from talking about the importance of participating in the political process and elections really are our best opportunity to talk to kids about voting and why we do it, so even when things are a little dicey, I think it's a great opportunity to talk about what the job is, what presidents do, what mayors do, what governors do, and then use that as a way to talk about why we're seeing them all the time and that they're asking for our vote. So even when it's contentious, there's a way to make it positive and to talk about the roles that we can play. When it comes to stressing the importance of voting any suggestions for doing that? Talking to them about the logistics that you have to register, that you have to find out where and how you're going to vote is actually really important, so taking your kids to vote with you or letting them fill out that ballot with you is really an excellent way to teach kids to vote and voting is a learned behavior, so, if you show someone how to do it, they're likely to do it as soon as they can when they turn 18 which is really important. What is the best way to watch the debates with your kids? Is that even advisable? You know, I will be honest and say that I'm happy that my 6-year-old's bedtime is before the debates start. I think you have to really make an age-appropriate call on that. I think maybe watching some other debates first, some famous moments from prior presidential debates might be a good idea to show how it's worked in the past and what is different now and how we might hope it will be in the future. I think you just have to be really honest about that this election is really contentious, but we shouldn't let worries about that keep us from participating. Great information, Erin Geiger Smith, really appreciate thank you.
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