How to Bring Kids to a Protest March
Toddler Protest

This Saturday, on the first anniversary of the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history, San Francisco will again be hosting one of the dozens of Women’s Marches taking place across the country.

Whether or not to bring children to a peaceful demonstration is obviously a very personal decision. For those families who are passionate about social change but lack childcare or for those who want to expose their children to a culture of civic activism, it may feel like the right one.

If you intend to make this or future marches a family affair, below are some tips for navigating a peaceful demonstration with small people in tow.

How to Explain a March to Kids

Children who are toddler age or older may need some context for what you'll be doing and why. After all, it's not every day they see thousands of adults wielding homemade signs and chanting (well, maybe in San Francisco). 

This list of children's books has great options for introducing young kids to activism around causes like civil rights, women's suffrage, and crayon rights. Yes, The Day The Crayons Quit is included. 

For older children, the themes woven throughout the Harry Potter series can be perfect conversation starters. Embedded in this magical series are topics straight out of our current news cycle. Fake news? Remember the Ministry of Magic's propaganda machine. Misguided nationalism or xenophobia? The mudblood versus pureblood issue pops up throughout the series. Protesting? Hermione's campaign for the rights of house elves is one example, but the larger concept of standing up against injustice, no matter how small you might be, can be found in every book.

Or, if your family is more Star Wars inclined, activist conversation starters abound in that series as well. 

How to Make a Protest Sign

This may be your kids' favorite part of protesting. In reality, anything goes. But if you truly don't know where to start, this will get you going.

  • If you're buying materials instead of digging through the recycling, go with foam core board. It's light, sturdy, and doesn't require a stick. My preference is black.
  • White or neon colors on black are high impact.
  • Look at protest art with your kids online or in person. The SFMOMA exhibit Get with the Action: Political Posters from the 1960s to now is a favorite. 
  • Get inspired by this Tate Britain kids' guide to making a protest poster.
  • If you don't march, hang your children's posters in your window or let them hold the signs while walking through your neighborhood. 

Tips for Taking Kids to a March

Mother and activist Jenn Sutherland-Miller and Jenni Mahnaz of Witness Humanity put together a comprehensive guide to bringing a child of any age to a protest or demonstration. With separate sections for babies, toddlers, school-aged kids, and teens, this guide (and the helpful comments) will leave you feeling prepared. 

Logistics for the 2018 Women's March

Visit the Bay Area Women's March website for speaker information for the "Hear Our Vote" Rally preceding the march.

Also, Curbed has a guide to this Saturday's march with detailed information on public transportation and street closures. 

Hope to see you there!


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