Why I'll be taking my children to the polling booth

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock Photo: Shutterstock

We've made polling day a compulsory outing for everyone in our family.

We think it's important for our kids to understand the responsibility of having a say in the political future of our country.

And it's also a great opportunity to talk to them about how lucky they are to be able to vote at all.

It started when they were babies, but now they're old enough at 8, 10 and 12 to have their own opinions – and they're very vocal about them.

They also have very strong opinions about 'Democracy Sausages' and I'm pretty sure they're mostly there for the food. If there's a good cake stand at the polling booth it makes it even better.

It also means if we time it right we don't need to make lunch for everyone, which is an added bonus.

Mainly, it's important to us that our children grow up knowing that their votes can help change the course of history. I want them to develop their own political views and feel strongly about the world around them.

As we walk through the throngs of volunteers handing out How to Vote cards we give the kids a brief run down of what each candidate stands for and we explain that while we might not agree with their political views we are always respectful of their opinions.

While we know they're probably bored out of their brains, we attempt to make the whole process fun and if anything else, it gives them a practical understanding of what to do when they're old enough to vote.

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Elections are important and it's vital our kids are politically engaged, not apathetic. They need to know that their voices matter. They need to know that one day their vote will count.

We live in a country that people have the right to protest, agitate for change and to vote. We are extremely lucky and I need my girls to never take that right for granted.

They do not have to fight a war to have a say, nor do they have to risk losing their job or being put in jail.

It's vital that my girls also know that in some countries they wouldn't be able to vote at all because of their gender.

It's more important than ever that our children are aware of their rights and they remain politically engaged, as there are some critical issues that they'll need to fight for, like climate change.

The world is always changing and ever too quickly things can take a bad turn (take a reality TV star running the USA, for example) and it's necessary our next generation of voters are ready to step-up and let's their voices be heard.

And in the case of my kids, if all else fails on Election Day and they spend the entire time playing on the playground or complaining that they're bored, at least they'll be off their devices for an hour.