In today’s interconnected and increasingly eco-conscious world, it is more important than ever that we educate our children on the importance of living sustainably. Teaching them eco-friendly habits at an early age can help increase their compassion toward our planet. Here are seven practical tips to help you teach your little ones about sustainability.
Lead by example
Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to teach your kids about sustainability. Children tend to mimic their parents, so you must model the behavior and practices you want them to emulate. Some of the things you can do at home include:
- Turning off the television and other gadgets after using them
- Switching off the room lights after leaving
- Using reusable and eco-friendly bottles instead of single-use plastic containers
- Switching to recycled toilet paper
- Patronizing products made by eco-conscious brands
- Turning off your car’s engine while in the parking lot
- Utilizing eco-friendly bags when grocery shopping
- Using reusable metal straws
Consider rewarding your children whenever they repeat the positive actions, but never reprimand them if they make a mistake. Remember, you’re trying to instill healthy habits so that they can live a sustainable lifestyle, so being patient is essential.
Exhaust your resources
Unlike in previous years, there are several resources you can now utilize that will inspire your children to live sustainably. Aside from letting them watch educational television shows or movies, you can read sustainability-themed books before bedtime. Choose stories filled with eco-friendly lessons written in a manner that is easy to understand. If your kids are tech-savvy, you can utilize online social media platforms and interactive websites focused on sustainability for kids as learning tools, but be mindful of their screen time.
Spend more time outdoors
One of the easiest ways to educate your children to respect the environment is by spending more time together outdoors. Whether going on a short hiking trip, camping over the weekend, exploring a nearby nature reserve, or hanging outside in your green backyard, being together in the presence of nature will help them appreciate the beauty of the environment and strengthen your bond as a family.
Communicate on their level
Since sustainability may be a challenging concept for some children to understand, you need to make it fun and educational for your little one. For instance, you can educate them about recycling by making it a fun game where they need to separate items and place them in different colored containers. Avoid using complicated words and ask simple questions instead. Communicate with your kids often but don’t overwhelm them with information that might be too much for them to handle. While you want your children to be as involved as possible, creating a sense of urgency will only make them anxious and stressed out.
Join local community projects
Another effective and fun way to teach your children is by participating together in volunteer work. Find local volunteer opportunities and sign up your whole family. Check your community organization or ask your local animal rescue for volunteering opportunities. Your kids will not only learn the value of safeguarding our planet, but they will also gain knowledge of the benefits of volunteerism.
Follow the three R’s rule
While educating them to reduce, reuse, and recycle can be challenging, it will prove invaluable in the long run. Here are simple strategies you can use:
- Encourage your children to use the entire paper when writing or drawing.
- Invite your kid to start a fruit and vegetable garden to minimize your grocery shopping trips.
- Remind them not to purchase drinks in plastic bottle containers.
- Educate your kid to buy only food they can consume to prevent leftovers.
- Instead of buying gifts for friends, encourage your little one to make hand-made ones.
- Consider visiting a local recycling center so that they can learn about proper waste management and recycling.
- Show them the right way of disposing of household trash.
- Enroll your children in a local recycling program.
- Find creative ways to turn old newspapers, magazines, and metal containers into something functional.
Involve your kids in basic household chores
Giving your children age-appropriate chores will teach them about sustainability and make them more responsible. Involve them in simple tasks such as sorting out old items or washing the dishes. Give them positive reinforcements but refrain from using monetary incentives.
Educating your children about sustainability need not be complicated. With these tips and lots of understanding and patience, you can inspire your little ones to become future protectors of our planet.