Today more than ever, we need to raise our kids to be world-changers. For us, that means we are committing to take kids to a protest, even if it’s not always convenient. That also means we’re raising our girls to be nasty women—a title I wear with pride.
The night before I took Peeper and Kiwi to their first demonstration, I didn’t know what to expect. But I wanted to prepare, so I asked some friends and activist parents I know how to take kids to a protest.
I followed their advice, and I’m happy to report our family activism went great! Both Peeper and Kiwi did great at the protest, and I put into action all the wonderful tips I got.
Now is the perfect time to learn more about how to take kids to a protest. After all, there are a ton of marches and demonstrations nationwide that match up with the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. (You don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. for the big march; here’s an article to find an inauguration protest near you.)
If you’re bringing your kids, here’s how to ensure your mini activists stay safe and happy.
Keep kids close. I carried both Peeper and Kiwi in carriers because I felt more comfortable having them attached to me on a crowd. A stroller would make sure they stayed nearby and didn’t get lost, too.
Stock snacks. Family activism is hard work, and you’ll be there for at least an hour. Bring enough finger foods to satisfy munchkin munchies.
Consider ear gear. Protests are loud by design, but little ears are especially sensitive to noise. Look into protective head phones to block out the noise.
Peeper was scared at first of the chanting but once she donned her head phones, she enjoyed herself—and even joined in the chants.
Talk about the cause. It can be hard to translate big issues into kid-friendly language; after all, the electoral college is much less relevant to a preschooler than Wikki Stix. But making the issues relevant to your kids will help them connect with the demonstration—and will help them grow into activists.
When I recently took the girls to a demonstration protesting Donald Trump’s treatment of women and women’s issues, I explained that everyone was showing how it’s not ok to treat girls differently than boys, and how no one else can do something to your body without your permission. Clearly my synopsis was simplistic, but I think it made sense to Peeper’s developing sense of fairness and autonomy.
Make signs together. Get your kids involved in crafting protest signs.
Bring it home. Think of how you can make family activism a part of your everyday life. You can display the signs you made at home, play march, volunteer, read books about social justice and apply principles of human rights to situations your kids face at school or on the playground.
Don’t sweat an early exit. There’s no penalty for leaving before the last chant has been chanted. Follow your kids’ cues and leave before meltdowns.
Even though it can be hard to go to a protest as a family, remember that you are involving your kids in a cause important to you.
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