Get 'Em Involved It's never too early to educate future voters.

By Colleen Crivello | Illustration by Ana Heard

This year’s a big one and voting in the 2020 election is critical. With the stakes high, there’s a good chance talk of voting is happening on the regular in most of our homes, so rather than leave our kids out of the discussion, we’re using this time to instill good habits in our future youth voters. And, just because they can’t vote in the actual election doesn’t mean they have to sit on the sidelines from now through November (and beyond).

As parents, we must encourage ongoing, age-appropriate discussions with our young citizens to make voting fun. Take the littles to the polls (if that’s possible), watch kid-friendly news to keep up with candidates and campaigns, initiate thoughtful discussions around the dinner table, and foster confidence to voice their opinions. The earlier we can empower our kids to take agency over their future, the better, in my opinion. 

For the young ones: five years and under

Depending on age, engagement will vary, but involving young kids in fun ways such as painting VOTE signs, wearing VOTE merch, and even teaching them the power of their choice through family votes like whether to go to the park or not? Taco night or sushi night? Watch a funny movie or a cartoon? make them understand the direct power of their vote, even on small issues. Plus, it’s never too early to take kids to the polling station on Election Day (if you can)! If you can’t, then show them how you fill out your mail-in ballot and send it off together.

Wear VOTE Swag

Head to sites like I Am A Voter or Lingua Franca for cute-as-can-be VOTER (and future voter) swag.

Ph: @iamavoter

Head To The Polls

Take littles-ones to the polls, if possible. And, if not, consider filling out your at-home ballot together and walking to the mailbox to send it off.

Ph: @denisevasi

Paint Your Point

While they themselves can’t vote, give them a voice voice by encouraging others to vote. Spend the weekend painting signs together that spread good news.

Friends Don't Let Friends Not Wear Vote Bracelets

Break out the beads, make VOTE inspired friendship bracelets to hand out to family and friends.

Mask Messaging

Remind others to vote with masks that have a message.

Ph: @mino

Read Books Like: Vote For Me!

Books that poke fun at politics but also open the conversation and allow kids to ask questions.

For The Older Ones: Elementary and beyond

Make talking about politics at home the norm. Partake in open dialogue, chat big topics of the day, tune into kid-friendly news tailored for their age, discuss the debates (plus post-debate commentary), and most importantly… Ask. Their. Opinion. Give kids a safe place to speak up, cultivate courage, be curious, ask questions and form ideas about the world around them, so when it does come time to vote, they feel confident in their beliefs. 

Kid Friendly News

Tune into stations, channels, media outlets, and podcasts like CNN-10 or TIME for Kids tailored for kids and classrooms.

Watch This Video: I Am A Voter

A series with kids ranging from 12-19 years old talking about how voting impacts their future and why they can’t wait to exercise their right to vote.

Rally Votes Via Tik Tok

There’s rarely a time to encourage MORE Tik Tok usage, aside from now. Knowing they are going to be on Tik Tok regardless, might as well be putting their time to good use and making videos that encourage others to get out there to do their part.

Take It To The 'Gram

If Instagram is the platform of choices, post important voter messaging on IG.

Curate Social Media Feeds

From Instagram to Facebook, and Tik Tok craft a line-up of age-appropriate political news and resources.

Dinnertime Talks

Go around the table as a family to make predictions and challenge each other (kids, and adults alike). Teach kids their opinions and voice matter. Follow the news to see how closely everyone comes and chat about why.

Run For Student Office

If your kids are back at school in-person, encourage them to run for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-grade class presidents or student offices. Have them consider ways to improve classtime and craft a speech on how they will execute.