By Melissa Taylor, M.A. Education
With the upcoming inauguration, are you wondering how to talk to your first grader about the president? Now is a great opportunity for kids to learn more about the president’s role and the US government. Use these kid-friendly talking points to help explain presidential basics and answer your children’s questions.
The United States doesn’t have a king or queen. Instead, our country has leaders who share responsibilities for taking care of our country. One of these leaders is the president. Others are judges and congresspeople. Even though he or she doesn’t rule like a king or queen, the president is often called the main leader of our country since it’s a very recognizable, one-person job.
People all over the United States vote for whom they think should be president. They try to pick the best person for the job. This voting process is called an election. Voting is a very important part of living in this country. Once you are eighteen years old, you can vote to pick the president, too.
If you are born in the United States and are at least thirty-five years old, you can run for president.
The president does a lot of things to take care of our country. Because he shares leadership with other people, he only does some of the many jobs that need to be done. Here are some of the president’s main jobs:
The president makes friends and agreements with leaders of other countries. This helps people like and cooperate with our country.
The president oversees the military, too. This means he can send soldiers to war. Soldiers are people in the armed forces such as the army, navy, air force, and marines.
Also, the president can recommend people to be judges in the country’s most important court, the Supreme Court. Judges help decide on the laws and fairness of laws for people who live in our country.
Another thing the president does is hire people to help him with different departments of government such as agriculture, education, transportation, and treasury. These appointed jobs are important because they affect the daily lives of people living in the United States.
Children can read more about the president and his important job in the beginning reader book, DK Readers L2: What Is the President's Job?
Ask your kids if they’ve ever heard of the White House. Tell them that this is the fancy mansion in Washington, D.C., where the president and his family live. Use one of our recommended books to see up-close photographs and learn more about this beautiful building. So far, the presidents have all been male, which means that their spouses have been called First Ladies. Read more about the presidents’ wives, the First Ladies, and their different contributions to the country in the informative DK Eyewitness Books: First Ladies.
Our country’s founders didn’t want a king who had total power over everything and everyone. That’s why we have three main leadership areas, or branches, so the leadership of the United States is shared. These three parts make up our government. First is the president, second is the Congress, and third is the Supreme Court. Like the president, these other leaders have essential jobs that help care for our country and the people in it.
DK Eyewitness Books: Presidents shares a wealth of information on past presidents, such as our first president, George Washington, as well as Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, and others. This book and The Presidents Visual Encyclopedia include pictures, highlights of each president’s life, and notable events.