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General Election… What Do We Tell Our Kids?

This week it happens, after six weeks of campaigning, and we all get to vote on Thursday…


In what is set to be one of the closest elections in recent years, but not everyone will be voting. Why are so many people disenfranchised with the system? Why do 60% of possible voters choose not to vote?

Recently I have talked about parents’ behaviour affecting our children in different ways. What have you done to motivate your children or engage them in the process? Schools will have done various things dependant on the age of children from mock elections, poster designs and even mock hustings. But what have you done, or what can you do?

Have you talked to your daughter about why she has the right to vote? Talked about what the government does and how different parties want to do things? My eldest and I have talked about the Greeks and everyone who had a vote had to use it, but it was restricted to citizens of Athens who were male and over 21. We have talked about why we have elections and what different parties think about some issues. I don’t care how he will end up voting when he can but I do want him to end up voting.

If you feel confused or don’t know where to start with your children have a look at this.

This is a fun and accessible introduction to UK general elections – in just eight minutes! Comedian Jay Foreman visits a constituency in the middle of an election campaign and finds out from the candidates and local young people why it’s important to vote and make your voice heard.  It will work with children over 10.

It’s an issue ITV are getting to grips with, when they air a TV program on Tues night about the general election and educating Joey Essex about the parties and what they stand for. Now Joey Essex is larger than life but his naively is representative of a generation who are disenfranchised.

There are chances to explore morals and big ideas in an easy way… do I vote for the local councilor standing for parliament who cares about local issues and does work well even if they are from a party I don’t like, or do I vote for the party I like even if I don’t like the local candidate?

I know some people don’t like politics and politicians and don’t want to vote but I say to my children getting a vote and spoiling it or writing ‘none of the above’ on it is voting, but not engaging not voting is not a choice. But if we want our country to thrive we all should use our votes, we should encourage our children to consider what the best is for them, their town and the country. If we as parents don’t talk to our children about it and get them into the idea that they do count, their vote is important who will? Where will we be in 4, 8 12 or 16 years time?

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