Teaching our kids environmental responsibility
There are hundreds little changes we can do to grow up eco-conscious children. The importance of passing eco-friendly habits on to the next generations is great.
However environmental thinking cannot be imposed. It is a process that starts with minor routines and later becomes part of our life. With children it is also different as it's more difficult for them to make long-term commitments, make informed choices and not see them as limitations. Therefor eco mindset can only be inculcated, and the sooner children learn to take care of nature, the more chances they will continue to do this at a later stage in a more conscious age.
We have put together some recommendations for parents to help teach children some great ecological habits.
Create sustainable leisure activities
Children always admire nature, it seems that they are born with a feeling of attachment to the world around them. So how can we, as parents, bring a child's love of nature into adulthood? Creating a strong bond between children and nature is not as difficult as it sounds. During simple walks in a park you both appreciate the beauty of your local ecosystem.
Clean up the trash and use the three R's rule
You can take part in a volunteer cleanup, while noticing that you shouldn't litter, break glass, break trees or leave waste after a picnic. Taking care of nature is also important at the household level. Reduce-reuse-recycle is a great way to teach children about what should be put in the garbage or given away versus what they can upcycle or reuse.
Talk to children about conserving resources
Teach your child to use water and electricity efficiently. Explain that if you turn off the tap every time you soap dishes or brush your teeth, you can save drinking water resources, and at the same time reduce utility bill.
Give your child emotions
Spend more time outdoors, encourage your child to play with friends or the whole family. Outdoor games will make their day more exciting. And at the same time, children in this way will learn to accept the world around them, take care of nature and admire everything that surrounds us. Prioritise emotions and impressions rather than material things. Don't build a reward system based on the purchase of toys, clothes, gadgets. Instead you could gift tickets a concert, arrange a trip, spend the day at an amusement park, organize a picnic, go carting - whatever will create good memories and be a special experience.
Read books about nature
Even from very young age you can choose books that will help to create better habits. Allegorically in fairy tales there is a message: as you relate to nature, so it will give back to you; help the little animal, then it will help you out. For older children there are plenty of books out there which help understand importance of taking care about nature. We suggest a wonderful series of children books Wild Tribe Hero written by the UK author Ellie Jackson.
Show the relationship of everything that surrounds us
Play with your child the game "what is it made of?" and "where did it come from?" Knowing that paper is made from trees, and trees help us breathe clean air, it will be easier for a child to come to terms with drawing on both sides of the sheet. Introduce children to the device of technology: if a child understands that the creation of electricity somewhere requires natural resources, it will be easier for them to understand why this very electricity is to be saved, the requirement will cease to be abstract.
Cook from scratch together
Teaching your little ones to cook and know the ingredients is not only a useful skill for their future independent lifestyle, but also a healthy habit. Children can learn new products , understand where they come from. Cooking together shows to your child that homemade food is better, healthier and tastier than convenience foods and fast food, and what is important helps avoiding food waste.
Sometimes you don't have to explain every little change, especially to young children. Just make a new eco habit part of your own life and kids will follow you. The child may not even notice these changes or will not attach importance to them. Instead, over time, these greener habits will become part of the routine.