How to Raise an Earth-Conscious Child
Global warming, pollution and climate change could have a significant impact our children’s futures. It’s important to teach kids eco-conscious habits at a young age so they can carry these habits into adulthood and make a difference in the world. In honor of Earth Day, try these tips to raise kids who value the environment.
How do kids learn to love and respect the environment? By spending time in nature! Unfortunately, today’s kids spend more time in front of the TV or on the phone instead of playing outdoors. Get kids off their phones and into nature by planning fun outdoor adventures or activities every weekend.
Set up a bird feeder or plant a garden in your backyard. Use these activities as a way to talk to your kids about the importance of protecting the birds’ and plants’ natural habitats.
When you plan a family vacation, visit national parks to expose your children to different environments and foster an interest in the world around them.
Help your kids decide which toys they no longer want, and schedule time to take a trip to the local thrift shop to donate them. During the trip, explain the importance of reusing items instead of throwing them away. Most children’s toys are made from non-recyclable materials, so it’s important for children to understand that that they should try to find a way to reuse something to avoid throwing it away.
Use water filters
As you encourage your kids to drink more water, talk to them about the negative impact of disposable water bottles on the earth. According to The Water Project, a non-profit organization, it takes over 1,000 years for a plastic water bottle to biodegrade, putting a huge strain on the environment. Show kids that drinking filtered water provides the same quality of water and doesn’t have to be an inconvenience with availability of reusable travel bottles and mugs.
Make recycling a priority
Explain that recycling protects our planet, and encourage your kids to do it on a daily basis. Put recycle bins in their bedrooms, and check to make sure that they’re using them properly. If they accidentally throw something in the bin that isn’t recyclable, use the opportunity to review what materials can and can't be recycled. If possible, take your kids to a local recycling center and reward them for their hard work by giving them the money earned in exchange for the recycled goods.
A fun way to get kids interested in eco-consciousness is to challenge them to keep the energy bills below a certain amount every month. Promise them a trip for ice cream or to the zoo if they succeed to give them more motivation. Teach them different ways they can save energy in the home, such as using a ceiling fan instead of the air conditioner or turning off electronics when not in use.
With all of these fun ways to be eco-conscious, your kids won’t even realize that they’re learning!
Hilary Smith is freelance journalist.