It’s a big day. All around the country, people are on the verge of doing the Hokey Cokey. As they decide whether they want to be IN or OUT or just SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT. Even my kids want to know what’s going on. Why people keep plying them with stickers. And free posters. Not that they’re complaining. So I tried to tell them. In simple terms. That went well.
Keep it on a need to know basis.
This morning, after the school run, we went off to vote. I made the mistake of highlighting this to my four year old. UNNECESSARY. It led to this conversation that NO ONE needed to have.
‘Where are we going, Mummy?’
‘We’re going to vote. Then to the park.’
‘We’re going on a boat?’
‘NO. We’re going to VOTE.’
‘Oh ok. And then after we’re going on a boat?’
Oh god. NO ONE is going on a boat. Ever. The End.
Be careful of the analogies you use.
If you’re going to attempt to discuss politics with kids under five may I suggest you a) don’t b) keep it real and c) avoid any reference to boats or ice cream. Otherwise you’ll end up like this.
‘So, what’s vote, Mummy?’
‘It’s where you get to pick something. And if lots of other people pick it too, then we all have it. So today we are deciding between strawberry ice cream and vanilla ice cream. If more people choose strawberry then we will ALL eat strawberry. But if more people want vanilla, then we’ll eat that.’
‘Wow. So after we get on the boat, they’re going to give us ice cream?’
‘No. Because we’re not going on a boat, are we?’
‘Oh ok. But we’re going to taste ice cream, yes?’
‘No. We’re not having ice cream either.’
‘So what exactly ARE we doing then, Mummy?’
Good question, Godivy. Good bloody question.
Beware of giving mixed messages.
If you’re wearing an IN sticker, for example, but your toddler (who’s strapped in his buggy against his will), keeps shouting OUT rather aggressively to everyone he meets, this can be confusing. Especially to those people who are campaigning.
It can also be construed as ‘sitting on the fence.’
Or maybe, just maybe, your two year old’s all clued up and understands more about this blooming referendum than you do.