Family Life

On Teaching My Kids About Democracy

Tonight Canada elected a new Prime Minister. While I can’t pretend to be sad to see Stephen Harper step down, this post isn’t about my political beliefs or yours. Rather, it’s about valuing the freedom we have in our country to vote for our chosen representatives and the importance of teaching our kids about the democratic process.

I was a little disappointed that the federal election wasn’t mentioned at school with either of my girls, but we’ve been discussing it at home anyway. My kids are three and five right now, so they don’t really understand the issues being debated during this eleven-week long campaign, but they’re not too young to start learning about the process!

Yesterday we held a mock election to help my girls build a basic understanding of voting and what an election is. We made mock ballots and held a vote to decide the best movie ever from the three candidates suggested by Tee: Star Wars, Frozen, and Brave. Yours truly acted as poll clerk by checking IDs, crossing out names, and handing out the ballots as the voters arrived. Everyone took their ballot and voted behind hubby’s Dungeons and Dragons screen, then folded them and put them in the ballot box.

We held a mock election to teach my kids about the electoral process.

Tee and I counted the votes, and it’s probably no surprise that Frozen swept the polls!

We held a mock election to teach my kids about the electoral process.

The girls loved the whole exercise and spent the evening pretending to vote on all sorts of other things. (You’ll be happy to know that chocolate is also the best treat.)

And then today on Election Day, hubby and I went to our local polling station with the girls. We’ve always taken our children with us, but this is the first time that they’re old enough to have some understanding of what’s going on. With a practice election under their belts, the girls knew what a ballot was and how to fill one out. Little Kay even put my ballot in the box for me.

It probably would have been easier to leave the girls with Grandma instead, but it’s so very important to me to raise good citizens. I want them to develop an understanding of our system of governance and a sense of duty and personal ownership to participate fully in political and public life.

We voted!

After going to the polls, Tee has decided she’d like to be Prime Minister one day. She wants you to know her campaign platform will be chocolate for everyone (hey, I’ve heard worse), so keep an eye out for her in a few decades!

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