Talking to kids about politics and the election

If you think politics is stressful and confusing for adults, imagine how kids feel. (Yes, they are paying attention!) Heated debates. Constant breaking news. Ads for candidates on social media. Kids absorb more about politics than we realize. Which is why it’s up to parents to model civility, teach respect for different viewpoints, and set the right example for responsible political engagement. Dr. Christia Spears Brown is a professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Kentucky and director of the university’s Center for Equality and Social Justice. She shares findings from a 2019 study on kids and their political thinking and offers advice on how to talk to your kids about politics, partisanship, and elections — in language they will understand.

Listen to this episode to learn:

  • If there’s a “too young” to start talking about politics with kids
  • How our values and our communities play central roles in shaping a child’s political thinking
  • Age-appropriate ways to start conversations with kids about race and gender using concepts like fairness and respect
  • Research on how kids viewed the 2016 election, and what it can teach us this year
  • Practical ideas for encouraging kids of all ages to stand up for the causes and issues they believe in
  • Resources for teaching kids about politics, elections, and how American democracy works (check out and