The best time for kids to start learning something about politics is definitely during an election year. In these years, there is a huge focus on politics, not only in media, but in the community as well. It is the best time to start talking about these issues with your child, because it is unavoidable in most cases.
Because of this overexposure, it is even more important to get involved if you want your child to share your political views points, or at least understand them. If you are there participating with them, then it is easily for them to avoid the negativity, the exaggeration and the fallacies that always come with election years.
Of course, it is always recommended to teach children about politics in a non-partisan way, but at the same time, sharing what side you lean towards is fairly impossible. But for the sake of the child, try to give them as balanced a view as possible.
Everything you do affects your child, and the same goes for politics. Therefore, your political affiliation or lack thereof, your activism or lack of activism, and all of your views will have an impact on them.
Of course, children will find politics very boring for the most part, and they will hardly ever connect with issues like economics, but if you can show them the big picture and the larger issues, they should be able to connect themselves with something.
The best way to connect them with political issues is to demonstrate a link to their lives. If you are talking about war, then you might be able to explain it while noting a relative or family friend that is serving in the military. If you want to talk to them about some type of politic issues, then you can explain it in terms of the family and how it will affect the family budget and spending.
Getting to know the political system is more up to the schools than it is to you as parents. Even though you can contribute, schools have a great capacity of explaining how these things work.
For example, many schools hold mock elections within the class or grade, and children in middle school can learn firsthand about issues and campaigning through student council elections. You would be surprised at how much they have in common. Even though school elections are often a popularity contest, can’t the same thing be said about presidential elections essentially?
Debate clubs are also great for students. The issues do not have to be strictly political in nature, but researching something, finding a stance on it, and then debating it in order to get other people to agree with you is a great way to show children how the system works and how opinions are influenced.