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

Does Baby have big dreams? Does he have clear eyes that cut to the heart of political reality? When he 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 he is, should he really have to wait until he’s grown up to start changing the world? Well, should he?

Does he have what it takes (yet)?

Skill #1: Public speaking

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

Another thing he might already be good at is memorizing long strings of text. Does Baby have that one picture book he knows so well that if you mess up one of the words, he corrects you? Well then, maybe he’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 he 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 – his constituents, if you will – he still has a ways to go before he can start winning hearts and minds.

Skill #3: Reading and writing

Baby’s ideas are good, he’s got a platform you can get behind, and he’ll surely have a talented speechwriter on his campaign team before he knows it. Unfortunately, he’ll still need to know how to read those speeches, as well as any number of other important documents, and he’ll definitely need to be able to write his name. Most toddlers his 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 his 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 his political opinions. Depending on whether he’s interested in running for local office first, and what state or country he’d like to represent, his age might be a barrier, no matter how committed he 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 his constituents face is always going to be one of the most important factors in his fitness for public service. Unfortunately, he is still learning how to see things from other people’s points of view, so unless the people he’ll be representing all have his same priorities – and lots of adults don’t seem to care quite as passionately about having to wear socks – he might run into some trouble. Don’t feel too bad if he’s not quite there yet, though – some adult politicians never get this one.

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

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