Now Is A Good Time To Talk To Kids About CivicsBreaking News
tags: civics, teaching history, 2020 Election
Election Day is upon us. Then again, you probably didn't need us to tell you that. Your sweaty palms suggest you're like many Americans who, no matter which candidate they support, have been amped and anxious for months. If you've been riding an emotional, politics-fueled rollercoaster, believe us: Your kids have noticed.
Here's a quick primer from Life Kit on how to talk with your kids about this election.
Process your own emotions and make home a safe space.
Kids can see that we're on edge. They are naturally self-centered, and they'll assume your stress is about them. Be honest and tell them, "Dad/Mom is a little nervous about the election." It's helpful for kids' social and emotional development to hear you naming your emotions.
At the same time, it's not great for you or them to be mainlining the news 24/7, so try your hardest to turn off the TV or the radio, put away your phone and connect — especially over meals and other key moments during the day.
"We can control the amount of information. We can control the amount of exposure," Rosemarie Truglio, senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop, told us when we talked to her about parenting during intense news events.
Ask: "What have you heard and how are you feeling?"
Parents and caregivers, this question is a golden line to have in your back pocket at all times — even when there is no election, no protests, no pandemic casting a long shadow over our lives. Tara Conley, a media researcher at Montclair State University, says adults should choose a quiet moment to check in with their kids, maybe at the dinner table or at bedtime.
The idea, she says, is to allow kids to "ask questions about what they're seeing, how they're feeling and what do they think." In other words: Give kids a safe space to reflect and share. And give yourself a chance to dispel any scary rumors or misinformation they may have come across.
And this is key: Your job, first and foremost, is to listen.
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