Bret Baier is ready for Tuesday’s election — and so are his kids!
PEOPLE spoke with host of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier about the upcoming midterms as well as how he and his wife Amy talk to their sons Daniel, 8, and Paul, 11, about the importance of voting in the U.S.
“I think politics can be tricky to talk to kids, especially young kids, about. So what I tell my buddies is to stick to issues more than politics, per se — explain why it’s important to vote and what’s happening,” said Baier, 48. “This is a midterm election and that means Congress, the Senate and the House and also a lot of governors who run each state will be up for election.”
“And then, in two years, we’ll do that and vote for a president, so explain the process,” he adds. “But then when it gets down to the politics back-and-forth, for kids, I think it’s best to stay on broad issues and why it’s important to get engaged.”
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As someone who has endured “three open-heart surgeries and spent a lot of time in the hospital,” Baier’s son Paul is passionate about one specific issue: healthcare.
“He wants to know, with all this talk about healthcare, how people pay for it and what does the government do? Big-picture questions. And it’s interesting because that’s obviously a big issue in this election,” the longtime news anchor tells PEOPLE.
Both sons ask their dad, unprompted, questions about what’s going on in the U.S. political climate, which is something Baier says he tries “to answer step by step.”
“I approach it kind of like I approach the news, but in a simpler way,” he explains. “I say, ‘Everybody has some thoughts about how to solve different issues and sometimes elections get really ugly and back-and-forth in the last few days, but eventually all these people are gonna have to work with one another to get big things done.’ If they ask me specific questions about issues, I break it down for them, but for the most part it stays at 30,000 feet.”
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Does he think his own kids will follow in his political-news-reporting footsteps? As of now, he’d be “surprised,” but “that could change,” Baier says.
“A lot of times, they’re more interested in whether I’m gonna make it to the flag football game or the soccer game than they are about the election, but since it’s my job, they do ask me a lot of questions,” he explains, sharing that Daniel’s current career ambition is to be a pro hockey player while Paul dreams of owning “a business that makes a lot of money.”
They do watch their dad’s show, though — but realistically, at this age, “When it gets to election time, they’re much more attuned to me having to do more work and so they say they’ll be very happy when the election’s over,” he says.
Baier’s biggest tip for other parents surrounding the election is for them “to stay neutral and let their kid think what they want to think, especially as they get a little bit older.”
“Helping kids make value-based decisions on their own is pretty important, and I think the most important thing is to explain why voting matters,” he advises, recalling a story he told his children about an election held in Virginia during the last cycle where one winner was determined by pulling a name out of a bowl after a tie, proving that “every vote matters.”
“I think people are going to be engaged this time. Traditionally, a lot fewer people vote in midterms,” Baier says. “But if there’s something that could be instilled in younger kids, it would be why it’s important to vote every time so that everybody has a say.”