Are You Teaching Your Kids About Voting?

In our home, we talk a lot about elections, voting, and politics because we feel it’s important to be engaged citizens who take seriously the right to vote and taking a stand on what matters.

When my kids were young, my husband and I always took them to the voting polls with us. They came right in the voting booth with us and got to see what it felt like to vote—even though they weren’t old enough to do so. Whenever our kids have elections in school (whether they’re mock elections or elections for student government), we encourage them to gather information about the candidates and choose who best represents them (and why)— and vote! Unfortunately, the midterm elections don’t traditionally garner as much attention as the primary presidential election. Here are some of the top reasons why, according to the U.S. Census:

1. Too busy, conflicting schedule—27%
2. Illness or disability—12%
3. Not interested—12%
4. Out of town—11%
5. Did not like candidates or campaign issues—7%

In our family, every election matters. We vote in primary elections. We vote in every general election. We’ve even taken our kids to a caucus so that they could experience it. We find it puzzling that other people think that only the presidential election matters. Not true. There’s always a lot at stake, but what’s most at stake is what we’re teaching our kids!

So, what are you teaching your kids about voting?

Thom File, “Voting and Registration in the Election of 2006,” Current Population Reports, P20-557, U.S. Department of Census, Issued June 2008.

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