Election result 2019: How do you talk to your kids about elections, keeping in mind that the information is age-appropriate? Parents can follow these steps while explaining it to children:
Talk about voting rights
Nidhi Arora, who runs a children’s newspaper called The Children’s Post of India, which has also carried explanatory pieces on elections, suggested that parents should begin by explaining to their child what Universal Adult Franchise or the right to vote is all about. They should talk to their child about how voting makes one an agent of change, which is why every single vote counts, Riddhima Krishnamurthy from RobinAge, another children’s newspaper, added.
Explain what a manifesto is
“Tell your child what a manifesto is and why it is important. Talk about how people who share the same idea about how a country should be run come together to form a political party,” Arora, who is also a mother, said. If you are introducing political parties of India, speak about the ideologies of each of them, mentioned Krishnamurthy.
Explain how elections are conducted
Explain to your child what elections in India entail but in an age-appropriate manner, said Ritika Kumar, who runs another children’s newspaper called The Young Chronicle. “The explanation for an older child will obviously be more detailed as compared to one who is younger. Talk about how India is divided into constituencies and how a representative is elected. Explain the various levels of elections in India and then how a party forms a government,” she said. There are several books on the topic that parents can introduce their children to. Recently, RobinAge also authored a book called Elections in India (published by Harper Collins) which explains “the history of elections in India, the various types of elections, the role of technology in elections, the major parties running for the 2019 elections and how voting is conducted,” Krishnamurthy mentioned.
It is very important to get children to develop an objective opinion about elections, stressed Kumar, so that they grow up to be responsible voting citizens. This is crucial since, more often than not, families have a polarised opinion depending on the political party they support and children keep listening to all of this. If you are explaining a party’s manifesto, talk to them about the pros and cons of each of them. “What I have specifically done with my son is to ask him to fact-check every data thrown his way. I think the one thing that should be forbidden is to discuss personalities of politicians. The focus should be on making your child understand if a particular politician is good enough to act on the policies that work for your country. And you can only do that by setting an example with the kind of conversations on politics you have with other adults at home,” expressed Arora.
Plan mock election activities
“During the last general elections, we got kids to do an activity where they had to elect the class monitor through the secret ballot process,” Kumar added, while talking about the election-related activities featured on her newspaper. Parents can plan such an activity with children where they can help them create a manifesto related to what they want for their housing society, for instance, while the other children can vote through select ballot. The manifesto could be about simple things like ensuring cars in the area are parked in a particular way, taking care of children’s security, making cycling tracks or organising kids’ activities, to name a few. The elected child can then become the honorary representative at society meetings, she suggested.