When will my toddler be able to run for office? A skills breakdown

Does Baby have big dreams? Does she have clear eyes that cut to the heart of political reality? When she says, “No,” when bedtime rolls around, do you hear a yearning for freedom that doesn’t just apply to tonight’s tooth-brushing-and-story-book routine, but is universal? Your little one may very well be the voice of a generation, and if she is, should she really have to wait until she’s grown up to start changing the world? Well, should she?

Does she have what it takes (yet)?

Skill #1: Public speaking

Baby is almost certainly speaking by now, and even if her vocabulary isn’t all that it could be just yet, she probably makes up for it in enthusiasm. Right now she’s probably also less self-conscious than she’ll ever be again, so public speaking might actually be one of her greatest strengths at this point.

Another thing she might already be good at is memorizing long strings of text. Does Baby have that one picture book she knows so well that if you mess up one of the words, she corrects you? Well then, maybe she’s ready to memorize a campaign speech!

Skill #2: Social skills

Shaking hands, kissing babies (but only when appropriate), recruiting and encouraging volunteers and staffers – there’s no end to the social skills politicians need, and while Baby may have some of them, there’s a good chance that she is still working on others. Young children don’t start to get really good at playing collaboratively, taking turns, and generally being part of a group until they’re a bit closer to age four. So while your toddler may have started breaking out of the parallel play phase enough to begin interacting with other young children – her constituents, if you will – she still has a ways to go before she can start winning hearts and minds.

Skill #3: Reading and writing

Baby’s ideas are good, she’s got a platform you can get behind, and she’ll surely have a talented speechwriter on her campaign team before she knows it. Unfortunately, she’ll still need to know how to read those speeches, as well as any number of other important documents, and she’ll definitely need to be able to write her name. Most toddlers her age are still at the point where they may know the alphabet song, but the letters mostly make sense to them as strings of sound, so Baby’s literacy might get into the way of her political future.

Skill #4: Age

Alright, so age isn’t exactly a skill, but it is a barrier that might get in the way of Baby’s bid for political power faster than any of her political opinions. Depending on whether she’s interested in running for local office first, and what state or country she’d like to represent, her age might be a barrier, no matter how committed she is to the cause. Minimum age requirements for serving in office vary from state to state, and age requirements for national politicians are usually higher than for local politics, but generally, a candidate for office must be a legal adult or be able to vote in a given country.

Skill #5: A grasp of the issues

No matter what office Baby is running for, understanding the problems her constituents face is always going to be one of the most important factors in her fitness for public service. Unfortunately, she is still learning how to see things from other people’s points of view, so unless the people she’ll be representing all have her same priorities – and lots of adults don’t seem to care quite as passionately about having to wear socks – she might run into some trouble. Don’t feel too bad if she’s not quite there yet, though – some adult politicians never get this one.

So when will Baby be ready to run for office? Only she can answer that, although when she is legally allowed to run for office is a different question. But She can start changing the world any day now!

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