Ways to be Politically Active with Kids of all Ages
2020 we’ve been talking about 2020 since November 9th 2016. There is a lot riding on 2020 and we need all hands on deck!
That means from the youngest little activists to older citizens!
How can we be politically active with kids?
It isn’t as difficult as you may think!
Sometimes we think that kids shouldn’t be involved in politics, but, I’ve said on Instagram, everything is political. Our kids need to learn about how government works, and getting them to be politically active from a young age is a great way to raise the next generation of engaged citizens.
When kids are younger, you can take them along when you’re advocating. (Check out the mamas protesting with their babies in the image above!)
When kids get older, have a conversation with them to ask them what they’re interested in. Julie Schwietert Collazo, the founder of Immigrant Families Together, says “ask them what THEY’RE interested in and what they want to be activists and advocates for — and then join them in their activism and leadership. So often, we pull our kids along with us (and nothing wrong with that!), but we don’t always reciprocate, and we should!”
Here are some ways to be politically active with kids of all ages, and some fun ideas for parents too:
- Organize protest playdates! As mentioned above, take kids to lawmaker offices! You can do that when your babies are in baby carriers! Strollers! With signs! With bubbles!
- Volunteer on a campaign. Kids can hand out flyers, make posters, canvass (older kids), and more.
- Write postcards to swing voters. Great way to get kids to practice their writing! It’s also a fun activity to do while you’re having coffee with your friends! Exactly what we did for last year’s midterms!
- Bake cookies or bring food to campaign volunteers. Working a campaign can be gruesome, bring a little joy to campaign workers.
- Bring your children to canvass for a candidate. Have you ever seen anything cuter than a baby canvasser? I think not.
- Hold a bake sale/lemonade stand and donate proceeds a candidate you support. If you can’t bring a cake to a campaign office, bake some cookies or host a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a campaign.
- Attend a rally or a march with your children. If you have ever attended a rally or march you know, the energy is contagious, and electrifying. The signs, the chants, the people of all ages coming together. It’s magical. If you want to march with your kids, here are some of my tips.Photo credit Julie Schwietert Collazo
- Make signs for marches! If you don’t think your kids will do well in a march with a lot of people (it isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK!) have your kids make signs for the march!
- Host a voter registration drive. Kids can help invite people to register, organize the registration forms, even help get the word out! RockTheVote.org has a great guide here.
- Invite your children to write a letter to your legislators. This is a perfect opportunity to have a conversation about the issues you care about. Maybe it’s SNAP funding, or school lunch. Maybe it’s the environment. You can find your member in the House of Representatives here.
- Share your family’s story! Share your story with lawmakers! They need to hear your story, your kids’ stories, your kids’ needs! You can do this by writing letters to lawmakers, commenting in public comment periods, connecting with organizations that advocate for families (like MomsRising).
- Bring your kids to Capitol Hill! Last year my daughter and I represented New York at Strolling Thunder an event hosted by ZERO TO THREE to discuss affordable childcare.
- Try text banking! Text banking is actually REALLY easy, it’s all set up for you, you just need to block out time to do it. (Real people do text banking, NOT bots). This is a great site with a lot of information on how you can get started.
- Make history and government come alive! Visit government offices in your community, take trips to Washington DC, read books about how government (is supposed to) work.
- Host a house party for a candidate in your community. Recently, I hosted a house party for the candidate I’m supporting for Borough President, Costa Constantinides.
Remember parents: DO WHAT YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!
As parents, we may have limited time, limited energy, limited finances. THAT’S OK! One small action can make an impact! If you have 10 minutes, do what you can in 10 minutes, If you have an afternoon, great!
Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you’re able to do: I’d love to go to swing states and GOTV for people I believe in but the truth is I can’t. THAT’S OK! No need to waste energy on what I can’t do (because remember, what we focus on expands!… so let’s focus on the good!) Focus on what you CAN do.
What activities do you do with your family? Share the ways you are politically active with kids of ALL ages in the comments below!
**Note: this post will be updated periodically with more activities!