The concepts of ‘citizenship’ and ‘participation’ are used increasingly in the early childhood field. Political rhetoric, policy frameworks, educational theory, pedagogy and practices all draw on these ideas in different ways. Professionals also use these concepts because of their democratic tone, with the best of intentions to create more inclusive, equitable and liberating relationships with children. However, ‘citizenship’ and ‘participation’ are rarely problematized in early years settings. This paper destabilizes these taken-for-granted notions. The author examines what the political notions of ‘citizenship’ and ‘participation’ entail; then uses the concept of governmentality to reconsider these discourses as technologies of government. The article poses some questions that might be asked before creating policies,and enacting pedagogies and practices in early years settings with and for children’s citizenship and participation.