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Talking With Children About the Election: A CMA Guide

CMA’s Election Day Guide is designed to guide children through uncertainty and prompt meaningful discussion on how to be an active and responsible citizen. Check out the tips and resources below!

Illustrate the concept of voting by letting children vote on an issue.

Have a family vote about something that impacts your family every day. For example, vote about what to make for family dinner, what game to play, or what book to read together. For older children, introduce the idea of nomination. Nominate a meal or game to play before everyone votes. 

Share your values, beliefs, ideals, and why these are important to you and your family.

Discuss the issues that are important to you and your family in this election and for their future. Many of the decisions that are being made today, such as environmental protection, affordable education, food security, and health insurance, will impact your children’s future in a big way.

Discuss how to respectfully disagree.

Talk with your child about how you handle disagreements. You can discuss how to solve problems together, such as a disagreement about who gets to go first or who gets to choose what to read or play. Everyone loses their tempers sometimes, but it is important to apologize and learn to manage these feelings by breathing deeply or finding a quiet place.

Comfort and reassure children during these confusing times.

Try focusing on kid-sized solutions during overwhelming times. For example, if a child is concerned about environmental issues, give them the opportunity to help in ways that are understandable and immediate, such as remembering to turn off the lights or setting up a recycling station in your home.

Get kids excited about elections.

Have children accompany you to a polling station or ballot drop-off box. The more that children experience the voting process when they are young, the more likely they will participate when they are older. 

Conversation Starters

  • What is a vote?
  • What does voting accomplish? 
  • What happens when people do not vote?
  • What does it mean to make a difference? 
  • Does voting make a difference? 
  • How would you feel if you were not allowed to vote?
  • What is a promise? 
  • Do all candidates keep their promises? 
  • What can you do to make sure that candidates keep their promises when elected?

9 Things Children Can Do to Help Their Community 

  • Pick up trash
  • Follow the laws
  • Stay informed by reading and watching the news
  • Troubleshoot a neighborhood problem with family or friends 
  • Raise money for a good cause
  • Volunteer
  • Recycle
  • Write to elected officials
  • Safely participate in marches or community gatherings

Pictured Above: “Untitled” by Taylor, USA. Part of CMA’s Permanent Collection, comprised of over 2,000 works of children’s art from over 40 countries.

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