At its best, children should gain their political education from parents or other trusted sources, then later when they’re old enough they can research issues independently to form well-rounded opinions.
Don’t bore children with detailed discussions of legislation and procedure; rather, focus on laws that have an immediate impact on them such as the 5p carrier bag charge or schools they attend.
Even if your children aren’t of voting age yet, now is never too soon to cultivate an interest in government and politics in them. Discuss topics like elections, how laws are created and why there can be different viewpoints on important subjects.
When discussing political issues with your children, focus on positive current events rather than dwelling on negative news coverage and hype. This will demonstrate to them that everything is not falling apart and help ease anxiety about what they see on news or social media sites.
Encourage your children to ask questions about what they see and hear, as this is an effective way of teaching them the difference between passion and vitriol, and showing them how to form opinions based on facts and research. If you don’t have the answer yourself, take this as an opportunity to teach your kids how to find it themselves by searching online or going together to the library for answers.
Increased numbers of families are engaging in open discussions about their political views and values with children of all ages, providing a great way to introduce children to government and politics while role modeling how to understand multiple viewpoints. It is crucial not to push your own agenda when discussing current events – children can easily pick up negative campaign ads for example!
No matter your political leanings, it’s essential that your child learns that different viewpoints can be healthy and respectful. This will enable them to have meaningful discussions with people from various ages about topics that might be controversial while developing their own ideas about controversial matters. Furthermore, having a solid grasp of US politics will equip them to make wise voting decisions when the time comes.
Make the Law Come Alive
Engaging kids with political issues can be challenging. Campaign season can bring out strong emotions, while even national news may skew towards certain viewpoints. You can help your children distinguish facts from fiction while developing critical thinking skills by discussing all sides of an issue and discussing its various opinions. Books or reputable online sources can teach children how to find information that is fair and balanced.
Never start teaching your child about politics too early! Preschoolers show an early interest in social issues and are beginning to grasp concepts like justice. As they age, you can broaden the topics covered with them – such as intricacies of legislature and laws – while remaining mindful not to overwhelm them with information overload.
Make Politics Fun
Politics may seem like an adult subject, but that doesn’t preclude your child from enjoying learning about how government and laws work. Children often display an acute awareness of social issues – from homelessness and soldier recruitment drives to collecting poppies on street corners – offering ample opportunity to introduce your young ones to political activism.
Introduce them to how government works and its effect on things that matter to them – such as their neighborhood’s parks and roads. Help them understand how decisions by city council or state legislature may influence their quality of life.
Discuss negative current events like recession and wars while also emphasizing positive ones like school projects or arts-and-crafts activities. Provide news sources tailored specifically for kids like HTE Kids News and Time for Kids that break down stories for them in an age-appropriate manner.