Talking to kids about the election

The contentious presidential race might be confusing and upsetting. Here's how to help children deal.

In 2016, Mark Brown, Jr.’s, elementary school held a mock presidential election. The then-six-year-old was elated when the candidate he supported won. But a few weeks later, his candidate lost in the real election. He was devastated, hurt, and confused. How could the person who in his mind was the best person for the job—the person who his school overwhelmingly voted for—lose?

Mark’s mother, Rikesha Fry Brown, soothed his hurt in language he understood: sports.

“I told him that just because you vote doesn’t mean things will go your way—just like when you play ball,” says Fry Brown, dean of the Honors College at Hampton University. “Just because you do your best doesn’t mean you win. But you still have to show up and do your best anyway. And next time you go to bat for your candidate again.”

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