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How to Talk About Presidential Election 2024 With Your Kids

It is so important for kids in a self-governing country like the United States of America to grow up understanding how their government works so that they can be good citizens as adults. The electoral process in the US is confusing, and even many adults have a hard time understanding how it all works. So how do we parents talk about presidential election 2024 with our kids?

If you want to become an expert at teaching civics to your kids, I recommend you get started with this overview article about civic education.

In 2020 I wrote my first article about how to teach your kids about the presidential election. That election had a lot of elements about it that felt unusual, to put it mildly. In 2021 when President Biden was inaugurated, those who voted for him, and even some who didn’t, felt hopeful that things were going to “return to normal.”

That didn’t happen. And now it’s 2024.

The 2024 Presidential Election is not your typical election. Did I understate that? I think Americans are feeling a sense of nervousness and even dread about what is coming. Polls show that more than half of Americans are unhappy with the choice presented before them.

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So back to the topic at hand. With presidential election 2024 in the US quickly approaching, many parents are wondering what is the best way to teach their kids about voting and elections. Tweens and teens are old enough to learn about the issues and the process of the 2024 election, whereas younger kids could benefit from learning some of the basics of how our system works.

White House Photo by Tabrez Syed on Unsplash

Unfortunately, being old enough does not go hand-in-hand with having an educated opinion. Understanding politics and issues has become sooooo sticky and tricky in the modern era! Tiktok, YouTube, and other social media are inundating our kids with opinions and “facts,” many of which are biased, oversimplified, or just plain wrong. Some of the information they’re getting is even propaganda from America’s enemies!

It can be very hard for parents to figure out how to intelligently present their teens and tweens with information about politics, civics, and voting.

I went back through my article from four years ago, and I’ve got some current information for you. Whether you are homeschooling your teens or you just want to have some intelligent family conversations, I’ve got suggestions to help you talk about presidential election 2024 with your kids.

As I see it, there are two main things that you need to help your kids with. First, you need to make sure they understand how the government and elections work. Second, you need to help them learn about what is happening in 2024 in particular. Separating fact from opinion and misinformation in the news is getting harder and harder.

But we can do it! Let’s get started.

Talk to Your Kids About How Elections Work

If you are homeschooling, or just concerned that this isn’t being covered well enough in your tween or teen’s school, I have found some good sources for curriculum so you can teach your kids lessons about civics, government, voting, and presidential election 2024.

Silverdale Press Presidential Election Unit Study 2024

The Silverdale Press Presidential Election Unit Study 2024 is one of the best and most thorough resources that I’ve found. I used the 2020 version with my son last time around. Silverdale was kind enough to give me a free copy of the 2024 version so I could review it for you. It is a self-contained unit, meaning that you don’t need to buy any books or anything to use it. It’s intended for grades 6-12 and has a ton of information.

I think this unit is pretty advanced. I’m not sure most middle schoolers would be able to keep up. It has links to lots of videos and articles to help you and your teen understand how the presidential election works.

There are lessons about primaries, the electoral college, how campaigns and political parties work, and more. I think many adults could also benefit from these lessons. You and your kids could go through these lessons and have terrific discussions. It’s a wonderful bonding experience to learn with your kids.

Silverdale has updated its lessons for presidential election 2024. There are specific references to recent events and discussion questions that relate to what is going on right now.

You can download the first chapter for free to help you decide if it’s right for you. If you decide to purchase it, it is a digital download so you will have it instantly. The price is $29.99. Take a look at the Presidential Unit Study here.

If you have an older teen or a bright student, then I think Silverdale is the right choice.

Presidential Election 2024 and 3 Branches of Government Bundle by Tied 2 Teaching

I have found many great resources on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. Tied 2 Teaching has some really good teaching tools. The Presidential Election 2024 and 3 Branches of Government Bundle is perfect for younger tweens.

For less than $10, you get a digital download of 200+ pages of information and teaching tools. Tied 2 Teaching lists this as a resource for grades 3-5, but I think many middle schoolers would also find it interesting. There are information sheets included so that you can use it as a self-contained unit if you like. There are lots of activities and graphic organizers. If you like to do notebooking or interactive notebooks, this will be a helpful resource for you.

This bundle includes both current information for the current Presidential election, with specific information about Biden and Trump, as well as materials to give your kids a good foundation on civics and government.

2024 Election Day & Electoral Process by Kiki’s Classroom

This is another unit that is available for sale on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. The 2024 Election Day & Electoral Process by Kiki’s classroom is recommended for 3rd-6th grade and currently costs $6.00 for a digital download that includes 41 pages.

It contains printables, graphic organizers, and information pages about how presidential elections work. It does not contain any info about the 2024 candidates.

Sonlight Election Day Unit Study

This free downloadable unit study from Sonlight is 40+ pages of activities to teach your tweens about how the US government and elections work. The website says that it is for ages 8-12. Sonlight is a Christian literature-based curriculum company for homeschoolers.

Bookshark Constitution Study

Bookshark is another popular homeschool curriculum company, and they have a free two-week unit study for you to teach your kids about the Constitution. It says it is for ages 7-12. I haven’t examined this one, but if you are interested in getting your kids educated about civics and government, check it out!

Information on the Candidates and Issues

I think it’s a good idea to teach kids how to find out the platforms of each party so that they can hear “straight from the horse’s mouth” what each political party stands for. Here are links to the current platforms so you can see what the parties have to say on the issues:

What the Republican Party Stands for

What the Democrat Party Stands for

I also found this helpful unbiased explanation of the differences between conservatives and liberals. Not only does it discuss the basic worldview of each way of thinking, but it also goes over many issues and how each side sees them. Very useful!

If your teen or tween wants to dive further into thinking about where they themselves fit into all of this, they might enjoy reading the book Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused? by Richard Maybury.

You also can go directly to the candidates’ official web pages and YouTube channels:

Trump’s Website

Biden’s Website

Robert Kennedy Jr’s Website The nephew of our former president, John F. Kennedy, is also running in 2024 as an independent.

Biden’s YouTube Channel

Trump’s YouTube Channel

You should also consider talking to your kids about the “No Labels” movement – a grassroots movement by a large group of people who are frustrated by our current two-party system that has left many people feeling like they have to vote for “the lesser of two evils.” Check out No Labels here.

Teaching teens and tweens about the presidential election 2024

How to Find Balanced, Truthful News

Gone are the days when you can trust the mainstream media to tell you what’s really going on. Most Americans think of Fox News as being biased towards the right. But not all Americans realize that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, The New York Times, and NPR (PBS) are all biased towards the left. It is very challenging to find the truth on any political story…which nowadays seems to be ANY story.

The chart above is from All Sides, which I’ll explain more below. Notice that a few sources are listed twice in two different places on the chart- that’s because they’ve separated out news from opinion. Click here to get an explanation of how the chart was created.

One way to handle media bias is to get your news from both sides and do the critical thinking on your own. If you have time to do that on your own, bravo!

But for most of us, that sounds daunting. Luckily, there are several groups that are working to do that for us. Take a look at these sources:

Allsides

Allsides attempts to bring you snippets of how the right, left, and center view various news stories. They have an interesting article about how news aggregate sites (such as Apple News and Google) tend to be biased themselves. It could be a good resource for teaching critical thinking. And another source for that is…

Ground News

Ground News is a site that endeavors to compare news sources and help people to see the full story without having it tweaked by algorithms. As Ground News explains on its website, “Over the past decade, online news and ad-driven algorithms have made it profitable for news outlets to embrace a position on the bias spectrum to target specific consumers.”

Ground News has come up with a way to evaluate the bias of each source and then blend the stories from the different sources alongside an image that illustrates the biases of the sources. It’s a bit tricky for me to explain, so take a look yourself at Ground News. I think you’ll like it!

The Flip Side

The Flip Side is a website that covers a political issue each day and then gives quotes from both left-leaning and right-leaning sources. It might be very useful for teaching your kids to spot bias and think critically. You can sign up to get their news sent to you each day. Here’s the latest issue they covered.

More News Sources for Teens and Tweens

I’ve got some more news sources for you to consider. These are for news in general, not just presidential election 2024 news. But they all have relevant election news occasionally. I highly recommend you choose one or more and start looking at them with your kids regularly.

CNN10

CNN10 is a daily ten-minute news video that’s intended for middle school and high school. The videos are free to watch, and reviews from parents say that CNN10 is free of the bias that plagues CNN in general.

World Watch

World Watch is another ten-minute daily news video. It is intended for tweens and teens and presents daily news in a “biblically sound” way. The creators are Christian and they endeavor to help kids see current events through the lens of a Christian worldview. I chose it to watch with my son because I found the idea of Christian news fascinating. As someone raised in public school in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve spent my life surrounded by left-leaning and secular ideology. I was very curious at the chance to learn from a wildly different perspective.

It does not feel overtly religious. In general, the news reporting is very factual and there is not much editorializing. As Christians, I feel like the creators give a “love your neighbor” vibe to their reporting. They report on the big stories, but they also always include little stories about kindness and hope. The only right-leaning bias I ever noticed were the few times there was news regarding abortion. The channel is pro-life and presented the stories from that angle. But if one is to be honest, one would notice that almost every other news source that pretends to be unbiased presents abortion stories from the pro-choice angle.

My son and I watched it on a daily basis while we were homeschooling, and I liked how it gave news from all over the world as well as the important American headlines. The news anchors are mostly very young (early 20s) and are relatable for teens. You can get a taste of what World Watch is for free on their YouTube channel. I highly recommend you give World Watch a try as it is so different than anything else out there. It does cost $6.99 a month currently, but that is a good deal considering you get videos every day!

SmartHer News

SmartHer News is run by Jenna Lee Babin, who aims to create a modern, nonpartisan take on the news, especially for the modern woman. You can visit the Smarther News YouTube channel, or you can go to the website and consider signing up for her emailed news updates. Her content is good for teens and tweens, but is intended for adults. We used her videos fairly often in our homeschool because Jenna is so clear and easy to understand.

And now some inspiration

Does all this sound a bit overwhelming? It is, I know. But I just watched this video, and it gave me hope:

Teens and tweens CAN understand the presidential election

Teens and tweens are old enough to understand presidential elections and are capable of becoming empowered citizens. I hope I’ve inspired you to help them with this important responsibility.

For more about teaching kids civics, read this article:

Why A Civic Education is Important and How Parents Can Help

Please comment below and let me know what you think or if you have some other ideas. If you found this helpful, please pin and share!

How to help kids understand the American Election in 2024
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