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Getting students excited for Inauguration 2021

Students on an Inauguration tour

New Year’s Eve is nowhere in sight, but Tristen, the product manager for Inauguration tours at EF, is already excited about 2021. Why? A few weeks after the ball drops, students from all across the country will be on tour in our nation’s capital to witness a piece of history. Since Tristen spends so much time talking to parents about Inauguration, we asked him to share a few easy conversation starters that will get students in a presidential state of mind.

It may seem like a long way off, but Inauguration 2021 will be here before you know it. It’s a rare chance to see history in the making and, for students traveling on our Inauguration tours, a front row seat to one of the most important aspects of democracy. Having a grasp of everything that’s led up to this monumental gathering on the National Mall can help middle- and high-schoolers contextualize that they’re in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime moment. With election season heating up, conversations with parents can provide key background info that puts the tour in perspective.

With the lead-up to voting set to be in the news regularly over the next couple months, parents will have the opportunity to share their own insights from the election cycles they’ve been through. Many of those conversations will happen naturally, but to guide them towards the upcoming Inauguration experience, here are a few conversation starters.

Encourage an understanding of the election and Inauguration

Context is king (even though there are no kings in a democracy). The presidential election seems straightforward enough on paper, but there’s a lot of nuance hiding in plain sight. As things between the candidates get going, talk through the rich history behind the election system and how it was set up to promote fairness in who we vote for.

This YouTube series can be especially helpful in breaking down some of the more complex aspects of elections (plus it gets tons of bonus points because we’re suckers for cute animals).

A couple conversation starters:

  • How does the electoral college factor into elections and how are electoral votes distributed to each state?
  • What is the goal of each party running multiple candidates during the primary process?
  • What are the pros and cons of a two-party system?

Take pride in imperfection

As any student with an eye on social media will likely notice, elections can get contentious. Candidates often zero in on their opponent’s shortcomings and some successes are called into question. Take a step back from the fray and explain how each nominee is motivated by their desire to continuously improve America. Like every country on earth, the United States is a work in progress with weaknesses to improve upon and candidates are passionate about what they view as the best way for the country move forward.

A couple conversation starters:

  • What do you think are currently America’s biggest areas for improvement?
  • How could candidates bring people together on certain topics?

tune in to presidential debates before Inauguration

Getting students familiar with the candidates and how they approach issues to try and win over voters is incredibly valuable leading up to Inauguration. Order a pizza and turn the next debate night into a family viewing party. Even if kids don’t understand every issue being debated, they’ll likely ask questions about the ones that pique their interest. Use those questions as jumping off points that can lead into more issue-specific conversations.

A couple conversation starters:

  • What topics dominated the debate? What are the arguments for and against healthcare, taxes, or the environment (or whatever topic caught your child’s attention)?
  • Do you think a candidate’s performance on stage is a reflection of how they’ll lead the country if elected?
  • If you’re feeling really ambitious, ask your child to pick a topic and promote one side of the argument. Then have them switch sides and take the opposite position.



By bringing up the election here and there over the next few months, you can prepare your child for the moment they’re scheduled to witness during their Inauguration 2021 tour plus encourage them to understand their fellow citizens and work towards building a better America.

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