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Tips for talking to kids about election results

This voting season offers parents and teachers an opportunity to teach kids about how elections work. This election year also gives you a chance to reinforce the message that whether or not you voted for the candidate who eventually won or lost, as a parent you can model a healthy reaction for your kids. Dealing with results we are positive about or unhappy with as adults sets the tone for the messages kids receive and carry forward.

Help your kids deal with their emotions around election results 

When the results are in, kids may have questions about the voting process or may express grief or anxiety if the person they (or their family) voted for didn't win. Here are a few ways to talk with your children about the election results:

Teach about how government works

Now is a great time to talk about our system of government and ways in which governments should work.

Calm fears

Maturity levels vary. But generally, for young children under age 10, focus on maintaining their sense of security and let them know that they will be OK in any outcome. If your child is concerned or anxious about the election results, reassure them that regardless of the results they are safe at home and they should come to you if they feel bullied.

Be honest

Share that we don't immediately know what the election outcomes will bring or accomplish. It's OK to say you don't have all the answers right now. But let your child know you can work together to find information along the way and encourage your child to keep asking questions.

Reiterate your values

Whether your candidate won or lost, reinforce the values or aspirations you want your children to have, such as unity or respect for people's differences and opinions. Kids frequently share the values expressed at home,. It’s important for you to recognize that children may “sound” just like you when they talk with others. Your example may set the tone for them now and in years to come.

Be thoughtful

Let your kids know there are wins and losses in life. It is important to have differing opinions and to express those opinions in a thoughtful way, while tolerating the opinions of others. We all have things to learn from one another.

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