Parenting Win of the Week: Get Out the Vote

Because they're never too young to learn about the power of their own voices.

Students with vote buttons in kindergarten class

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Students with vote buttons in kindergarten class

Photo by: Ariel Skelley

Ariel Skelley

With midterm elections around the corner, you’ve likely seen many articles about Generation Z and how they may be the ones to decide this election. Generation Z is the youngest group of voters, those under 26, many of whom have never voted before.

This Education Week article talks about some of the thoughts on this generation, a generation that certainly wants to be heard. However, midterm elections often draw much smaller crowds to the polls — even with a lot at stake.

In my state this year, we have election day as a day off from school. This is a great thing for teachers, and a slightly more difficult thing for parents who may not have the childcare to be able to vote. I will likely vote early, but I have taken my kids with me in the past and it sparks some great conversations.

This year, I started to think about the best way to educate my kids about voting. We have written postcards in the past and they certainly know it’s important to vote, but most kids don’t learn about government until much later in school.

So, I think it’s time to meet kids where they are — and what kid doesn’t love watching a good YouTube video? This roundup of short videos from Kindergarten through middle school is a great primer about voting in general. Depending on the age of your kids, you can talk to them about some of the issues that are important to you and why you vote. And you can follow up with the Schoolhouse Rock! video on how a bill becomes a law.

If you feel comfortable, you can take your kids to your local polling place. The ones by me actually give kids a faux ballot to fill out so they can see what it feels like to actually place their vote.

And then of course, you can add simple lessons into your daily activities. Vote on spaghetti and meatballs versus tacos for dinner, going to a movie or staying home, and what to watch on TV.

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