Voting season is upon us and it's a biggie this year: the 2012 presidential election. Your family be talking about it, teachers will be talking about it, and students will be talking about it. This is the perfect opportunity to teach your children about the process, the partisianship, and what a vote means.

Rather than muting or avoiding the barrage of current and future political advertisements, use the media coverage to talk about subjects your children might otherwise miss.

Respect

Campaign ads are everywhere, as well as an array of opinions from teachers, friends and other parents. You and your spouse may even disagree on politics--with the discussions to prove it. Your children will notice. This is a great chance for you to talk about respect; just because someone has different opinions and beliefs does not mean we should treat them poorly. Debating with friends and family in a respectful, non-confrontational matter will help highlight this point to your children.

Responsibility

Voting for a president isn't a popularity contest. Talk to your children about what voting means, and how each voter has a responsibility to vote for the person whom they truly believe will do the best job as president. Voting is a right that was earned by those who fought for our freedoms, and it should not be taken lightly. Each voter should be educated on the candidates and the issues as much as possible.

The Process

The process of electing a president is one of the parts of history class that your child likely blocked out because it just didn't seem to matter at the time. This year, put those lessons into real life. Teach them about the Electoral College, the blue and red states, voting rules, and any other information you may have retained from your own history classes.

A Passion

Many of us are frustrated by politics. Some of us don't even bother to vote. But others have a passion when it comes to politics. There are issues that they care deeply about and voting for the right person will help resolve problems that they see in our country. Help your children develop a passion, whether it be for disability rights, health care, or animal rights. This may someday help them decide on a career path.

The History

A lot of history that plays into how our voting works today. From the founding of our country to the women's rights movement to the civil rights movement. There have been law changes, recounts, new technology, and all kinds of interesting events that have occurred over the years that may pique your child's curiosity.

Here is your chance to bring history to life for your children while teaching them about respect and responsibility. So take the opportunity, and perhaps you'll learn a little something, too.