So who won the election, Mum?

May 9 • Uncategorized • 795 Views • 6 Comments on So who won the election, Mum?

For those of us with children old enough to understand that there was an election last Thursday and that Mum and Dad were voting in it, it was an exciting opportunity to teach our kids about democracy.

We took them to the voting booths, and they watched as we put our voting slips in the big metal box.

But if like me you've had the question 'so who won the election, Mum?' on Friday morning then you might be struggling to answer.

'Was it the party with the most number of votes?' 'No.' 'Why?' 'I don't know. It's very complicated.' 'Who is actually running the country?' 'Hard to say.' 'Who is living at No 10?' 'At the moment, I think no one.' 'Does that mean we don't have a Prime Minister?' 'Yes we do, Gordon Brown is still Prime Minister.' 'But he didn't win the election?' 'Um…. no. No he didn't.' And so on.

How did you explain the results to your kids? I'd love to know.

written by Liz Jarvis


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6 Responses to So who won the election, Mum?

  1. Karin @ Cafe Bebe says:

    Well, when you’re done explaining it to your kids, can you explain it to me as well?? Being American, I can understand Election nightmares but I am more than a bit confused about this whole malarky. Thankfully my Little Miss is too young for me to have to explain it to her. I promise I’ll study more for the next one! 😉

  2. MyLifesChaotic says:

    Very difficult. We did have lots of discussions in the lead up to the election – prompted by my 7yo questions. I tended to concentrate on the fact that we were lucky that we lived in a country where every 5 years we at least got a say in who governed us – and that we weren’t living somewhere where a "bully" just took over and stayed in power regardless. She knows our opinion on the various politicians – and how our own (very personal) circumstances and experiences have shaped them. So she did want to know "why" people voted for the "man that we don’t like". I have tried to explain that other people have different experiences and therefore that makes them think differently to us. As to why the winner hasn’t taken control – most of our analogies have come down to the playground – if one group want to play football – and two other groups wanted to play other games – even if the football group was the biggest one – if the other two joined together then they could chose the game – so long as the other groups agreed – and stayed in agreement. However based on their own school experiences they weren’t sure that any of the groups would agree to play the others game!

  3. jfb57 says:

    Really good questions being asked. I know schools will have done a lot of work around elections both the mechanics as well as dipping into politics. The result though – now that’s a different case. I suppose it will be easier when we know what they are going to do. I do like the explanations from MyLifesChaotic. Very thorough. It may be an opportunity for the children to look at other countries where it works apparently! Good luck!

  4. Vic @ says:

    I don’t know about explaining it to kids, I need someone to explain it to me. It’s times like this when I realise I probably shouldve taken politics at school.

  5. grit says:

    we’ve done very little explaining about winners/losers; we’ve done a lot of talk about specific policies. i think that reflects the year we’ve had, following closely the progress of a single Bill and how that one document is viewed/talked about/ decided upon by different interest groups. to teach kids about politics, i really would recommend that as an approach – choose one Bill at the beginning of a session, whether the kids are interested in transport / environment / education etc and follow it through parliament. you can be alerted as to its progress, and involvement with kids at different points can be highly tailored. so, for example, go and see your MP in the early stages of the Bill to inform them of your views. You can petition your MP at a later stage. You can write to the Lords when the Bill passes to them. I think these are great ways to involve kids in local events. To my way of thinking this is a better way to teach engagement with politics than ‘which party?’. I see that approach as failing; a couple of reasons are a) on some issues your local MP can vote either way and not be representative of the party line at all, or they can speak for and vote against, so it’s quite difficult to always identify them simply with the ‘Tory line’ or the ‘Labour line’ (unless they are a career politician, in which case you’re stuffed) then b) the parties move across particular policy lines, so they might negotiate or exchange policy areas; if we get a coalition government of any sort then we all need to teach ourselves about that, so again, what ‘which party’ says or does becomes more of a positioning statement than a reality. sorry about the length. i didn’t know i was interested in teaching kids about politics until i had some kids to teach about politics. then i realised they are interested and there are ways of teaching it that they enjoy. i think all i really need to say from now on is yes, thank you for the post, and please teach politics to kids!

  6. Deer Baby says:

    It’s been hard. Like Mylife’schaotic football response. My son is 10 and has been very, very interested. He came with me to vote and was fascinated. He wanted to stay up with us on the night and got up really early on Friday morning (was it only Friday – seems like ages ago) to find out what had happened. We’ve explained it using the school councillor comparison. He knows how that works at school. Although it doesn’t take into account proportional representation. He knows that they’re all trying to do deals now and negotiate and someone’s going to get left out.


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