Weekend open thread: Parenting advice for the Iowa caucuses edition

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Lauren Whitehead's post on political activism while parenting got me thinking about my Iowa caucus experiences as a parent of young children. I did a lot of phone banking from home while kids were napping or my husband was watching them. I never brought my kids along to knock doors, but one of my sons enjoyed coming with me in the car to deliver yard signs.

We brought our baby to the 2004 precinct caucus. A good sling or other comfortable baby carrier makes this very manageable, and I would do it again with no hesitation. Caveat: that baby was both extroverted and a night owl. A baby who needs to go to bed early or gets overwhelmed by crowds would do better at home with a baby-sitter.

We brought a toddler and a preschooler to our 2008 caucus, which was much more challenging. Mr. desmoinesdem did most of the kid-wrangling while I was doing precinct captain duties. The caucus can easily take more than an hour, even if you don't stay for the platform resolutions. The rooms tend to be crowded, leaving no place for a little one to run around. The atmosphere can be overstimulating or too stuffy for young children. Early evening is often not the best time for kids' behavior anyway. If I could do it over, I would arrange for a nice babysitter who wasn't interested in politics to watch my kids on caucus night.

I'm 100 percent for bringing older kids to the caucus. It's a fantastic way for them to learn about the process.

After the 2010 elections, I wrote a post on explaining political disagreements and election outcomes to young children. I'm interested to hear how other parents have handled similar conversations.

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