4 Ways to Promote Civic Engagement with Children

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In honor of election season, let’s talk about how to promote civic engagement with children. While this is not a political article, I do want to encourage us as moms and citizens to talk with our children about civics and how we engage and can help direct the course of our community from our actions.

My grandfather loved two things: the news and voting. A fond childhood memory of mine is watching him read the newspaper, scream at news reporters on TV, and vote. On election day, he would proudly strut to his assigned voting center at a nearby elementary school to cast his vote in person. The following days were filled with laughter and chatter about who he voted for and why.  

I found my grandfather’s enthusiasm to vote inspiring and passed down this value to my children. Voting is exciting and we need to make sure our children know that is is a privilege and duty to vote. 

Here are four ways to promote civic engagement with children:

1. Talk About it

Children, especially toddlers, want to listen and participate in parent activities. Talk about upcoming elections, candidates, issues that are important to you and your family with your children. A dose of exposure will hopefully ignite an interest. Ask children what values they care about and why they think it is important.

2. Take Action

Develop a family activity centered on civic action. Choose a cause and develop a plan on how to bring about change. Here are a few ideas:

    1. Advocate – attend a rally with your children or develop a yard sign art project.
    2. Donate – volunteer your time, money, or donate personal belongings to a charity that supports your chosen cause. 
    3. Fundraise – have a bake sale, lemonade stand, etc.

Need more ideas? Check out the Nonprofit Giving Guide with local organizations that are up to a lot of good.

3. Vote

Incorporate children in your voting plan. If you vote by mail, complete your ballot and have your children join you at drop-off. If your vote in-person, take your children to the voting poll. Voting can be a fun experience for kids. You can even start a tradition of getting ice cream, going on a hike, etc.

2024 Presidential Primary Elections:

4. Volunteer

Raising civically engaged children doesn’t end with the election season. We want to still pursue raising leaders who want to make a change. Families can sign-up for a volunteer activity that supports a chosen cause. Organize and run a 5K fundraiser for a charity or volunteer at a local food bank. When we volunteer with kids, they see directly how their effort supports the greater good. Plus, it passes down morals and values that are caught and not just taught. For more volunteer ideas, check out 4 Volunteering Opportunities for Kids in the DMV or 10 ways to give back with kids.

If you have tips on how to promote civic engagement with kids. Please share!

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