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Discussing Politics with Your Children

American families are under a great deal of stress regarding the Presidential election, but children are often left out of the conversation. By nature, children have lots of questions about everything, and with access to social media and a constant news flow, these questions will likely intensify. If you have been struggling with speaking with your children about the current election, here are a few thoughts and tips. 

Nancy L. Deutsch, a professor of education at the University of Virginia and the director of Youth-Nex, a center for youth development at U.V.A., spoke with the New York Times recently about why it is important to have discussions about politics with your family. “Talking about politics can help you communicate your values, she said, which is a good thing.”

There are all sorts of topics you could cover regarding the American political system and election process. Here are some age-appropriate ways to integrate this discussion into your family: 

  • Candidates: This is an opportunity to explain which candidates are running for each position. Don’t be afraid to discuss why you support one candidate over the other and how that support fits into your family. 
  • Electoral College: Gallopade has a simple guide that explains what the electoral college is and how it’s distributed across the country. 
  • Introduce election-positive literature into your home library or daily routine. The Week Junior is a customized news publication tailored to children’s interests and is an excellent way to provide age-appropriate news. 

Having conversations about tough issues is difficult to navigate and stressful to plan, but it’s always better than staying silent. If you’re filled with nervous energy right now, your children can feel that—the impacts are far greater if they feel disconnected from you, your feelings, and a reality that is clearly affecting the entire country. In opening up the conversation at home, you teach your children that they can always ask questions and express opinions to you without fear of judgment. 

If you’re looking for additional literature that will help your child understand the election process and provide family bonding time, take a look at Read Brightly