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How to talk to your kids about the election

Posted at 5:53 AM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 08:47:29-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — We are in the final week of an election that is dividing the nation. As parents, how do we answer our kids' questions and be the mature adults we need to be while supporting the right to a different opinion?

Experts say how we talk to kids really depends on how old they are. Even if you don't talk about politics or watch the news around your kids, don't be fooled! Kids can often sense when things aren't normal.

"It makes sense when you think about what children are taught from a young age," said Andrea Barbalich, editor-in-chief of The Week Junior Magazine, a weekly magazine for kids. "Kids are taught to tell the truth. They're taught to care deeply about other people and not just about themselves."

Experts say if you're talking to elementary school kids, keep it simple. focus on celebrating the right to vote, and explain the roles of elected officials.

With middle-school and high-school students, you can discuss a candidate's positions, and what they think is important to them, in selecting a candidate. You can also talk to kids about your plan to vote.

It's also a good idea to avoid disparaging people who vote differently than us. Think about the message that sends to kids.

"Invite them to ask questions and come to you as a trusted and safe source of information and this really builds their critical thinking skills," Barbalich said.

For more information on mock elections and how to talk to your kids about the electoral process, click here.