Take your kids to the polls
Today is a great day to tune your kids into current affairs and instill a sense of excitement and responsibility about voting.
As a busy parent, casting your vote can seem like a bit of a herculean effort. In Ontario, the polls aren't open early enough for most desk jockeys like me to get there before work. And after work, many of us face either risking being late for daycare pickup or hauling hungry kids along with us to the polls. I've been there myself, dragging a crying three-year-old who was having random attacks of "something in my eye," which required steady pressure with a cold compress.
Voting day aside, the campaign period brings politics to life for kids. Walking to school past all the lawn signs, Cameron, now five, sagely tells his dad, "It's either going to be Peggy Nash or the other guy."
The most important thing part is getting there to cast your ballot tonight, of course, and you should talk to your children about going to the polls whether you decide to take them along or not ("I'm going to get home a little later tonight because I've got to vote."). But if your child can come with you, that's even better. Make a big deal out of it, and encourage them to help you hand your ballot to the Elections Canada person. If it's in the budget, take a shortcut and make some ceremony out of voting at the same time — order a pizza or pick up some deli favourites as part of the celebration of election night. Make popcorn and watch the results come in - well, that part's for mom and dad. In Ontario, most kids are in bed before any results are tabulated.
I'm voting on my way home tonight, and we're going to have election brownie sundaes at our house tonight after Cameron goes to the polls with his dad. (I'm making it sound a little like this democratic exercise is one big excuse for junk food, aren't I?) Whatever you do — and however you feel about the outcome — I hope you have a great election day with your kids.