This is not a political post. It’s extremely critical that I make that absolutely clear from the start. I am not going to tell you who to vote for or which political party to support. What I want to convey to each and every mom and dad in America is that one of the most important ways to protect our children is to participate in our government–to voice our wants, needs, desires, and concerns for our family by exercising our power to vote in every single election.
Our children can’t be happy if they are sick, afraid to go to school, given inadequate education, or discriminated against because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. We all know that our country is experiencing a very challenging time. Some of the decisions being made are not in the best interest for our most precious citizens–our children. As parents, we must stand up for all children and vote for leaders who will work hard to protect them and their future.
Again, I am not going to tell you who to vote for, but I am going to point you to helpful resources so that you can make the most educated decision possible when choosing the candidates who will work to ensure that our children:
- Are safe (from guns, criminals, chemicals, food contamination, etc.).
- Have access to affordable health care no matter what your family situation is.
- Have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and clean oceans to swim in.
- Are given an equal chance for success throughout their educational career.
- Are treated with dignity and respect.
Step 1: Register To Vote
Too many Americans sit along the sidelines and miss out on a critical opportunity to protect their children. If you are not registered to vote, then please do so ASAP by visiting Vote.org. It’s the least you can do for your children!
Step 2: Get Educated On Candidates
Voting can feel overwhelming. Who should you trust? The election ads are often nasty and turn a lot of voters off from heading to the polls. Be an educated voter and find out the truth behind each candidate by examining their actual voting record. Here are some reputable resources that assess and rate candidates’ records based on key issues that impact our children.
League of Conservation Voters: Since 1970, the National Environmental Scorecard has been providing objective, factual information about the most important environmental legislation considered and the corresponding voting records of all members of Congress. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who select the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including energy, global warming, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, and spending for environmental programs. The Scorecard is the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues.
Health Care Voter. The Health Care Voter Guide provides details on how candidates voted on healthcare in the past. You will need to scroll down to get to the Voter Guide section where you can enter your current address.
Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Voter Guide: Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidates are candidates running for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Senate, and State House that have demonstrated support for common-sense gun violence prevention measures by satisfactorily completing a gun sense candidate questionnaire. These gun sense candidates have pledged to vote on the side of gun safety if elected to office.
American Civil Liberties Union: ACLU publishes a legislative scorecard for each election. It evaluates votes by members of Congress on key legislation affecting civil liberties and civil rights including racial justice, disability rights, LGBTQ rights, juvenile justice, right to privacy, and right to free speech.
Step 3: Make A Plan To Vote
Once you are registered and have reviewed all of the candidates’ information, make a plan to vote by looking up exactly when and where you can vote. You can also Vote By Mail (I highly recommend you sign up to do this to make it SO much easier and more convenient for you) or Vote Early. Vote411.org will tell you everything you need to know.
Step 4: Get Your Kids Involved
Believe it or not, there is a clear link between civic involvement and happiness. When we participate in social action, community service, and political groups, we increase personal satisfaction as we engage with others on issues of mutual interest. These activities also involve participating in the decision making process, which has been found to boost our happiness as well. Another connection with happiness comes from helping others less fortunate than ourselves because it gives us a sense of living a meaningful life. Those are some amazing reasons to vote, right?!
According to youth.gov, the connection between community involvement and happiness for children and teens has also been validated. There are so many fun ways to get your kids involved in the election process:
- Take them with you when you vote! (They will be proud to get that “I Voted” sticker)
- Read books about American politics and government based on their age and interests. Here is a wonderful book list developed by the United States Senate.
- Watch movies and documentaries about history and government.
- Encourage them to join the student government or debate team at school.
- Bring them to a political event or rally.
- Learn together online using these amazing resources:
iCivics provides a platform to engage students in meaningful civic learning. They provide free inventive resources to ensure every student receives a high-quality civic education. As the largest provider of civics curriculum in the country, it is used by in 50 states by over 110,000 teachers.
Kids in the House is a public service website provided by the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Its mission is to provide educational and entertaining information about the legislative branch of the United States Government to students of all ages. Topics covered include the role of the U.S. House of Representatives, the legislative process, and House history.
Kids.gov is the official kids’ portal for the U.S. government. It links kids, parents, and teachers to information and services from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, all geared to the learning level and interest of kids. It is organized into four audiences: Kids (Grades K-5), Teens (Grades 6-8), Teachers, and Parents. Each audience tab is divided into educational subjects like Arts, Math, and History.
A Kids Guide To Running For President is a cute kid-friendly document that explains the Presidency, voting, and the inauguration.
Please comment below indicating your commitment to vote. Think of it as an expression of love for your precious children. Thank you!