One of the most essential responsibilities we have as parents is to teach our children to respect and appreciate the environment. Sustainability can take various forms, but there are several little steps we can take at home to teach our children about their environmental impact. Beginning these behaviors at a young age will instill in youngsters a sense of environmental responsibility that will last a lifetime. There is no such thing as a youngster who is too young or too old to learn, and any small step toward a more sustainable future is worthwhile. Here are some simple ways to get your kids interested in learning about sustainability.
Spend time outside in nature.
Immersion in nature with your family is, of course, the best way to reconnect with the environment and enjoy its great beauty. Children can build a stronger bond with nature by going for walks, playing in the park, or simply spending time in the garden. If we help children develop compassion and empathy for the Earth, they will become fierce protectors of the ecosystem they love.
The Storytelling Effect
Stories are a fantastic way to bring a topic to life and educate children about the challenges of climate change. Books for children of various ages are available to teach them why it is so important to care for our environment and what they can do to help. Books are also great conversation starters, allowing parents to start a conversation about how their family may adopt more ecologically friendly habits in their home.
Appreciating what we have rather than wishing for what we don’t is an important step toward becoming more aware of our environmental impact. This can be challenging with kids who are always looking for the latest technology or trying to stay up-to-date on social media, but teaching the value of what you have will help decrease the impact on the environment—and your wallet! This can be performed by properly maintaining your assets, such as repairing broken objects, keeping your items clean and tidy, and purchasing quality items that will last as long as possible. When something has reached the end of its useful life, think about upcycling, selling it, or donating it to someone who can benefit from it. After watching their parents’ behavior, children can easily incorporate these actions into their daily lives.
Encourage them to incorporate environmentally responsible habits into their daily lives.
There are many little and basic actions that the entire family may start doing at home to adopt more ecologically friendly behavior. These everyday actions provide tangible ways for children to minimize their carbon footprint while also initiating discussions about the importance of protecting natural resources. Here are several examples:
- Install recycling bins in your home and teach your children how to use them.
- While brushing your teeth, turn off the water.
- Turn out the lights when you are the last person to leave a room.
- Bring your own reusable water bottles and cutlery to avoid single-use plastic.
- Bring your own bags when you go grocery shopping.
- Take brief showers instead of bathing.
- Washing fewer clothes and drying them outside (when the weather permits!).
Make your own mini-vegetable garden.
Teaching children where their food originates from is critical for instilling in them the value of the resources our world provides. Making the connection between what they eat and where it comes from teaches children the necessity of caring for our land and not taking more than we give back. Planting seeds to grow fruit or vegetables in a little box on the balcony or in the kitchen is an excellent hands-on way to teach children not just about healthy eating but also about sustainable production. Take it a step further by cooking with the produce you’ve grown together, and they’ll reap the benefits of growing their own food.
After you’ve eaten your delicious supper, save your food scraps and start composting. It not only relieves landfill pressure, but it also reduces the amount of dangerous methane gas released into the atmosphere. Starting at home is straightforward and can be a pleasant project for the kids to manage. After that, you’ll have a rich natural fertilizer to use on your plants. Making your own compost container using common items is straightforward. Simply search the internet for information on how to get started. If the thought of rotting food in your home bothers you, keep your leftovers and find a local government organization or business that would accept them instead.
Take part in beach cleaning.
Signing up for a beach clean-up is an activity that the whole family can participate in. There’s nothing like collecting endless bits of old plastic on a beautiful beach and bringing them home. There are various groups that arrange beach clean-ups; simply search online for one in your area.
Take some days off from eating beef.
Agriculture, like fashion, is recognized as one of the most polluting businesses on the planet. Agriculture utilizes 70% of the world’s freshwater resources and accounts for half of all livable land. Consuming less meat is one of the most significant adjustments we can make to our environment because livestock management is incredibly resource-demanding. Begin by observing meat-free Mondays and discussing with your children the importance of food in addressing climate change.
Your children’s outgrown clothing can be sold or donated.
It is equally vital to inform our children about the origins of their clothing and what happens to them when they outgrow it. With so much unwanted clothing ending up in landfills, demonstrating how long different fabrics take to degrade will highlight the problems with simply throwing items away. Clean out your children’s closets of any items they no longer require and either sell them on a resale site or donate them to a local charity. Allow your older children to create their own seller account on a secondhand marketplace and buy and sell their own clothes.