October is one of my favorite months. For me, it’s the real beginning of fall. The leaves start to turn orange, red, yellow and brown. Halloween is right around the corner, and I get to see the interesting yard displays people put out. This year, there are other things on the grass — political signs.
Have you talked to your kids about the election? Do you think it matters to them?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until this election is over. No matter how you are voting or who takes the top seat in our county, there will be constant chatter about the results.
With children spending more time on their screens, political ads might be popping up. As we socially distance with people outside the family unit, we are having conversations about this topic, especially heading into this last month of the election season.
It’s important to help kids understand voting, the process of electing a president and its impact on the country. Also, as parents, we need to model good behaviors when talking about it.
The first step is to open a dialogue with your kids by talking to them in an age appropriate manner. Ask them how they feel about it or if they’re worried about anything. If they shrug their shoulders, you don’t have to press them further, but just reassure them if they want to talk, they can.
Also, your kids may not agree with your politics — and that’s OK. It’s a good opportunity to teach them the value of listening to others and understanding that everyone will have different opinions.
If you want your children to learn about elections from an educational approach, there are plenty of books, including funny ones, such as “Vote for Me!” by Ben Clanton, which pits an elephant and a donkey against each other in an election. They are bitter rivals who both want your vote.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that as parents, especially as many of us are still doing virtual schooling, we might find some kid-friendly news programming to get our children engaged in current events. Stations such as WVIZ/PBS Ideastream provide a show called “NewsDepth” with host Rick Jackson for fourth through sixth graders. It’s a great supplement for learning about current events and other special topics that align with state teaching standards.
I know many of you will spend your time a little differently than in previous years. For me, some things are normal, but then again, not.
My hope with this month, even though some of us may be divided, is to show my kids that we can still be united, whether as a family, as a community or a country.
Hope you enjoy all the pumpkin spice items, scarf-wearing and Halloween thrills!
A version of this column appeared in the October 2020 print issue of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine as the monthly “Editor’s Note.”