Home > Entertainment and Activities > Movies, TV, Internet > Kids and Tv > Talking with Kids About Political Ads

Talking with Kids About Political Ads

The Political Pitch

During an election year, you and your kids won't be able to escape the politcal ads on TV and the radio.

But before you tune the candidates out, try using them as a way to teach your children some media smarts. By talking about the ads, you can help your kids sort through the truth and distortion in political advertising. The ads can serve as a springboard for discussions about important political and social issues in our lives.

Stumped before you start? Here's what you can say to get your conversations off the ground.

Separating Fact from Fiction

  • Ask your kids how a particular commercial makes them feel. What impression does it give them of the candidate?
  • Talk about how the camera shots, setting, music, and people in the spot were intentionally chosen to send messages to voters about the candidate. For example, ask your kids if the music sounds friendly or "stately." Then discuss how that changes a candidate's image.
  • Encourage your kids to notice the race and ethnicity of people in the spot. If they're all of one race, consider why the people making the ad chose to do that. (You can also talk about the age and gender of the people.)
  • Discuss the advertisement's message. Tell your kids how it compares and contrasts with the record of what a candidate has actually done.
  • If a candidate is engaging in negative campaign spots, share your feelings about negative campaigning with your kids. Tell them whether you believe the information in the spot is true.
  • Talk to your kids about the power of charisma. Help them realize that just because candidates have a nice smile or are attractive doesn't mean they're a good candidate.
  • Share the social issues you care about most with your kids. For example, consider where a candidate stands on universal health care. Do his or her opinions on taxes, poverty, or the environment match yours?
Your younger kids might not be able to understand the finer points of your political concerns, but having these conversations when they're at an early age sends important messages to them. They'll learn that you are interested in who is running the government, and also see that you don't take political advertising at face value.

For older kids, learning to think critically about what's being fed to them by campaign strategists will help them read between the lines when they're ready to cast their first vote.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.



Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!