The importance of teaching children environmental responsibility can never be understated and ideally begins when they are small.
With their childlike sense of wonder and eagerness to learn, environmental responsibility can be modeled and taught to little ones from the moment they are born.
Being a role model to your children is key when teaching values and instilling eco-friendly behaviors into their daily life.
If children are brought up seeing, partaking of and living with Earth-friendly habits, they take them on board and the behaviors become second nature.
Environmental Responsibility In Action
There are a multitude of ways for parents and carers to encourage children to live green. Consider some of these suggestions to make small changes add up.
In The Home And Garden
1. Clean your teeth together, demonstrating how turning off the tap whilst scrubbing teeth can save up to 30 liters of water per family, per day. With just one flick of the tap, you’ve reduced water wastage significantly. Think about the impact a year’s worth of saved water makes.
2. Take time to sort the recycling. Encourage children to make posters, showing where each recyclable item should go. Being responsible for the posters, inspires greater connection with the activity, meaning children are more likely to engage with the task.
3. Have a light monitor. If you have more than one child, also teach task sharing, as well as environmental responsibility. Kids take turns to be the monitor and learn about what it means to take charge of an important household chore. This important job teaches accountability for the lights in the house, making sure all are switched off, when not in use.
4. Spend time outdoors. This simple suggestion is especially important in an age when computers, iPads, and online gaming seems to be de rigeur. There’s a time and a place for all activities and indoor/outdoor balance is key. Foster a love of nature, observe the plants, flowers, trees and weather patterns. Teaching a mindful approach to a child’s environment sets them up for understanding the importance and beauty of their surroundings.
5. Bring seeds to life and plant a little garden. You may not have a lot of space, but there’s still room for some carefully chosen plants, even on a balcony. Choose easy, quick seeds that kids can see rapid results with. Beans, radishes, and tomatoes are excellent choices for the environmentally aware child.
6. Inspire children to walk with you as much as they can. Rather than jumping into the car for a trip to the corner shop, show them the clean, green way of travel, on foot.
Educating The Kids Naturally
1. Talk to your children. This might sound simple, but often children don’t understand the reason for doing activities. Discussing the benefits of environmentally conscious choices, and why and how you make particular choices, instills strong values into your youngsters that last well into adulthood.
2. Make ecologically sound choices a way of life. When living green is simply the way your family lives, it won’t make children feel different or embarrassed about the way they do things. It could also serve as inspiration for their peers.
3. Make waste paper fun. Having a shredder is an outstanding way to intrigue and interest the kids. If you have a garden, shredding waste paper to use as mulch on potatoes or the compost heap is a wonderful way to recycle white paper and envelopes. If the paper is too inky or waxed find alternative ways for the kids to recycle. Using scrap paper for drawings, models or Easter decorations ensures a second lease of life for waste paper.
4. Inspire your children to help you clean the house. Using earth-friendly products, like bicarbonate of soda or simply white vinegar is an excellent start when cleaning your home. Whilst cleaning up and making your home sparkly clean, talk to your kids about the benefits of using non-toxic products. With so many children suffering from asthma and allergies, it’s a sensible choice for everyone.
5. Declutter and donate. Children are naturally kind and want the best for other kids less fortunate than themselves. When kids have a regular clear out and know where their pre-loved toys are going, they are more likely to be keen to have a sort out.
6. Inspire your children to learn the value of saying “no thank you.” Just because a kid’s meal comes with a plastic toy or a sticker, it doesn’t mean they need to accept it.
Working As A Team To Stay Environmentally Responsible
1. Enroll your child in one of the upcoming playgroups or school who have a focus on environmental responsibility. Forest schools teach authentic life skills and understanding through a focus on nature and the environment. Less formal than traditional education, children flourish in a teaching environment with a focus on global sustainability.
2. Join in with organized activities and local environmental groups. Getting everyone together to collect litter or help at a beach or woodland, can be a day out and an act of kindness at the same time.
Teaching kids that small changes add up to make a big difference is one of the loveliest skills a parent can share.
Enabling children to appreciate that every action does make a significant difference is a sure way to safeguard their future choices.
Children are clever and quick to learn. As parents, you are your child’s first and most important role model. Using simple steps from their earliest years guarantees you’ll shape a little ecological warrior from the start.
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