Teaching kids about elections & voting

As your child gets older, they have the need to be more independent, at times insisting on their choices by throwing a tantrum. Even teenagers do this by slamming doors, or withdrawing from a family activity for example. 

Voting is an important concept for kids to learn and understand and can help them understand and fit into society. Kids can practice this concept when they decide which game to play with their friends, which movie to watch with their siblings, or where to go on a family outing.

Teaching your kids about elections and voting will actually teach them that:

  • People are different and like different things.
  • Everyone’s vote is important and counts, yours too.
  • Some people will have to sacrifice some of the things they want to support the group’s decision.
  • You can still enjoy the activity/movie/food/game even if it wasn’t you first choice.
  • Respect for other people’s needs and feelings.
  • Negotiation skills. Kids can try to persuade their friends/siblings to choose the same thing they want.
  • How to handle peer pressure: your child can be the one being persuaded.
  • There is an orderly and respectful way to deal with differences/conflicts.

How to teach them this:

  • Explain the concept when you go to vote in the Municipal or National elections. Tell them why you vote and how it works.
  • Suggest a vote when you spot an opportunity.
  • Facilitate the process the first time to teach your kids how to do it.
  • Give them the opportunity to try it themselves the next time and only help when you see them get stuck.
  • Give them feedback on the process, telling them for example how well they worked together to resolve a conflict.
You might want to read more about how to help your kids with their homework.