15 Ways Parents Can Encourage Active Citizenship

As the Dad of an 8 year-old, I certainly appreciate that there's a lot parents need to teach. We know parents play a key role in supporting our children's educational success, emotional development and much more. As we approach Mother's Day and Father's Day, we are celebrating the vital role parents play in developing the next generation of citizens. For instance, studies have shown that taking children to the polls increases the chance they will become voters as adults, and engaging in discussions of current affairs at the dinner table increases the likelihood that children will become politically active.

In our current spring campaign, we are providing donors a chance to recognize the important role a parent has played in teaching active citizenship. In addition, we'd like to share some ideas as to how parents can encourage active citizenship with their children. Thanks to my colleague, Karen Rice, for many of these ideas below.

15 family activities to encourage active citizenship

- Attend a public meeting with your children, such as City Council, School Committee or Town Meeting.
- Take them to a polling center to vote, and discuss at home why you are choosing the candidates you voted for.
- Volunteer together at a recycling event.
- Organize a block party. Children can help design invites and plan kids' activities.
- Plant flowers or help with a spring clean up with a local environmental group.
- Visit a nursing home and volunteer during an activity.
- Read to your child's class.
- Look at the front page of the newspaper together, and discuss the stories of interest.
- Chaperone a school trip or event.
- Join a committee and help to plan a local fundraiser.
- Pick up litter in your neighborhood or a nearby park.
- Read biographies together about individuals that exmplify good citizenship.
- Volunteer during a road race.
- Attend candidate debates together.
- Participate a Martin Luther King Day event.

That's just a quick list of a dozen ideas. We'd love to hear your ideas about how you encourage good citizenship with your kids, or something in your upbringing that encouraged you to be active in your community.