My Civic Workout: Parenting in Trumpian America

Parenting in Trumpian America

Kid-friendly resistance

From shoving the Montenegrin prime minister to refusing to admit when he’s wrong, President Trump has evoked a lot of comparisons to a toddler. But those of us raising kids know that even most toddlers have better impulse control than our 45th President. Still, how do we talk about this administration, and the public support that got him there, with our kids? What can we do to involve them in our resistance?

Below we’ve listed some ideas for workouts you can do as a family. If you have other ideas (and we know you do), please tag us @mycivicworkout on Facebook or Twitter! And as always, if this edition is not relevant to you, feel free to forward to a friend.





Shorter Workouts

    • Even young kids can promise to commit one random act of kindness per day. Whether it is sitting next to a kid who doesn’t have a lot of friends, or making sure to welcome a new student, we can all work to put more kindness into the world. Talk about it at dinner or bedtime to keep yourself accountable!
    • If your child receives an allowance, have them set aside a portion each week for activism or charity and let them pick their own charity based on what is important to them.
    • Grab some sidewalk chalk and have your kids make “protest signs” out on the sidewalk or in a public space. Kids can let the neighbors know that they care about climate change, endangered animals, or public education!
    • Everyone loves mail. DesignCrush has printable resistance postcards to mail to your representatives. Print one out, or design your own postcard and have kids tell their officials what is important to them.
  • Computer time can be educational and good for the civic muscles. Games for Change has many interactive online activities to teach kids about civic activism.


Longer Workouts

    • Research has shown that talking about race is the best way to combat racial prejudice, but some families find it hard to get the conversation started. Guess My Race is a thought-provoking iPhone app that helps kids learn to talk about race openly.
    • Help your kids set up a lemonade stand or yard sale to benefit a good cause. Kids get practice making change and making change!
    • Most protests are family-friendly, but even if you don’t feel comfortable demonstrating, you can offer to babysit for others so that they can attend. Teenagers can also volunteer their babysitting services, either for demonstrations or for town hall meetings and other events that can be hard for families with young children to attend.
  • Older kids can even testify at school board meetings and state legislative sessions. Check out these amazing kids from Baltimore testifying in support of continued funding for their alternative high school (beginning at 39:00).


Second Wind

Ali Wicks-Lim interviews her activist son, age 11.

Me: Why do some people choose to be activists?

Son: I choose to be an activist because if no one was, then the world would not be the way we want.

Me: Why do some people choose not to be activists?

Son: I think some people don’t realize what the world could become if no one stands up for what they believe in.



Fitness Is Always Easier with a Friend

Lots of activism groups welcome families, and prioritize helping kids get involved in activism. Consider these:

  • Amnesty International has teen and student groups, and organizes young people to get involved in domestic and international human rights advocacy.
  • Project 350: A climate change movement, Project 350 often hosts events that allow kids to make postcards while the grown-ups talk.
  • Moms Rising: This movement works on issues of social and economic justice, particularly as they impact working parents.
  • If you are in Boston, Chicago, or Philadelphia, consider Cradles to Crayons, which connects “communities that have with communities that need.”



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