We all have causes and initiatives we are passionate about, and attending a protest or rally is a great way to show your support. However, as a single dad, your duties don’t stop just because you’re out fighting the good fight. Bringing children along to a protest, march, or rally isn’t unheard of, but here are a few tips to make sure everyone has an enjoyable experience.
1. Do your research – Before you pack up the car and head out, make sure you do a little bit of investigation as to the safety of the protest. First, check to see if the protest is permitted, as these will tend to be safer due to the police presence. Will there be a counter-protest, as this increases the likelihood of violence due to varying opinions and emotions. Check into the philosophy of the protest as well. Most protests have a Facebook page or some other form of social media presence. Based on the comments, does it seem like the appropriate place for a child?
2. Stick together – No matter how many times you’ve told your son or daughter to hold your hand, in a crowded area such as a protest, getting separated can happen in an instant. Wear matching t-shirts of the same color, and write your cell phone number on your child’s wrist and cover it with a liquid bandage so it won’t rub off. Establish a meeting place should you get separated, and identify adults they can turn to for help such as police officers or employees at a nearby establishment.
3. Pack a bag – You might not plan on being at the protest that long, but an hour to a child can seem like ages. To avoid being unprepared, pack a bag with snacks, water, hand-held games, jacket, sunscreen, and a change of clothes. In addition to the previously mentioned anti-separation plan, place a laminated card or tag on the backpack with the child’s name as well as your telephone number.
Use this as a time to educate your children about why you are protesting, and engage them in a meaningful and intellectual conversation. Frame the conversation in terms of what you are marching for rather than what you are marching against to promote positivity. With the right planning and research, you can rest assured that you will enjoy a day together supporting a cause that is meaningful to you.