Election Day is here. Unlike any other Election year, people living in the United States of America have been waiting for this one with utmost anticipation. Some companies have cancelled meetings and made the time available for people to process the event. It is no surprise that this Election is a critical one and everyone is on edge.
I am a mom to two boys and I find this hard. So if you are a parent, teacher or child-care provider I see you. How do we help our kids and talk to them about the Election? Here are a few techniques that have worked for me.
Speak honestly and sincerely
Remember kids are watching us, all the time. They can see how we react to the news and what conversations we are having with our friends. The first step in engaging in a healthy conversation about the Election is to speak sincerely. Identifying our own emotions and mentioning things clearly like, ‘I am a little anxious about the Election’, can go a long way. Children are constantly reading their parents’ cues and any sign of tension will seem to them that it is because they did something wrong. So it is essential to name those difficult emotions.
Be the fact-checker
While my mantra has been to be honest about the situation I know that kids of different ages must be exposed to varying amounts of information. The best way to go about it is to not to keep the radio or TV channel running. It will allow us to fact-check the particulars of the news that we, as a family, can be exposed to. Always remember, you know your child the best. So be the judge of which narratives your children can or cannot take from the media.
For kids that are older talk to them about the ads they see on social media, help them make sense of it. On the other hand Bad Kitty for President by Darienne Stewart is a great book to read with elementary kids. Find more age-appropriate resources here.
Listen and respond
The best conversations are when we listen. We can start with questions like — ‘What have you heard or read about the Election?’ ‘How are you feeling?’ We can even start the conversation by mentioning, ‘This is a big day, I am feeling anxious. How about you guys?’