img_6987We are always looking for ways to practice social and emotional skills with our kids — like impulse control, reading the emotions of others, and putting ourselves in other people’s shoes — and this election has been a great opportunity to model those behaviors. Here are five things I am trying to grow in my own kids — and practice myself! — during this election season.

1. Gratitude

Let’s teach our children to be grateful for the right to vote. In many countries, citizens are stuck with whatever government is already in place. Citizens are told how to live their lives, how to behave, and what they are allowed to believe. How fortunate are we!

2. Empathy

Political tension brings out the ugliness in many people, as it has for hundreds of years, and our children have likely caught glimpses of it through election coverage.

Election night is a chance to teach our children that just because we don’t agree with the other party does not make them foolish or bad. They want what is best for our country but believe in a different pathway to achieve it. This is a good chance to practice empathy — putting ourselves in other people’s shoes — and trying to see things from someone else’s point of view.

Here’s a song I created for the Q Wunder app to teach empathy called “In Your Shoes“:

Play Song

3. National pride

Here are two discussions to help foster national pride:

1.  Here’s something cool we can tell our kids. We have a rich history of peaceful transition of power with no violence. Since 1801, the United States government is considered the first to achieve the peaceful transition of power — that means that on January 20th, the President of the United States and thousands of government workers will leave their desks peacefully and make way for a new President and administration without any military action or violence. There are over 120 countries that have followed our lead and begun peaceful transitions of power. Take a moment to reflect with your kids on this potentially chaotic transition made seamless by our system that is based on the rule of law. Pretty cool!

2.  Discuss some things that make us proud to be Americans. Here are some suggestions:

Liberty: America offers freedom from authorities telling you how to live, what to believe, how to act.

The pursuit of happiness: America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country. That means no matter where you are born or who you are born to, you can be anything you want to be.

Religious freedom: This was the primary reason our forefathers fled Europe. In America, we are allowed to believe what we want, whereas in many countries, people from opposing tribes and religions engage in bloody conflict.

4. Responsibility

Election night is an opportunity to discuss taking ownership and responsibility for our words and our actions, regardless of political affiliation. Our words, whether true and virtuous or false and wicked, are a reflection of who we are deep down. Our actions have real consequences in the real world.

5. Good sportsmanship

Half the country will be disappointed tonight. No matter how frustrated our family may be about the result of tonight’s election, the winner is the President of EVERYONE. We need to show good sportsmanship and do what’s called “rallying around the flag.” That means we control our emotions and try not to undermine the opponent. Tonight may also be the first time in history that there is no concession speech, something that has been an honored national tradition. This is a chance to discuss what it means to be a good loser vs. a sore loser and why that matters.

By practicing these important social and emotional qualities, we can help our children become the kinds of people who effect change, take ownership for their words and actions, and treat others with kindness and respect.

Download the new award-winning Q Wunder and begin the exciting journey through Q’s world!
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