In today’s hustle and bustle world, it’s easy to get caught up in the “single-use” mindset, especially when convenience threatens to prevail over eco-friendliness. From disposable flatware to fast fashion and even planned obsolescence in technology, it almost feels as though the cards are stacked against the planet. As a parent, how can you show your children how to maintain the same values that you have, when it already seems so hard in the first place?
Fortunately, teaching your child how to be eco-conscious does not have to be an impossible task. While there may be a little bit of pushback from them, especially in older children, you can still help shape and mold their behaviors to be more green. By starting at a younger age, though, you can help ensure that your children are both eco-friendly and proud to be so!
Introduce Them to the Great Outdoors
One of the best ways to teach your children how to love the environment is to help them become more acquainted with it. If they’re cooped up indoors all the time, how can they grow to fall in love with the beauty of Mother Nature? Instead, invite them to explore the outdoors with you. Whether you take them hiking with you or just on a stroll around the block, these are great ways to teach them how to love the planet they live on.
Take Them Shopping With You
Many children don’t realize where food comes from. As far as they’re concerned, a magical fairy refills the fridge with their favorite things to eat, and then you cook it for them. Not only should you be showing your kids how to prepare easy, eco-friendly, and healthy recipes, but you should also educate them about where their food comes from. While taking them to your local farmer’s market is ideal, even a trip to your grocery store is a step in the right direction.
Show Them How to Recycle
Kids learn by watching their parents, and your role as a sustainably-minded parent is extremely important. If they see you using paper plates and plastic silverware, then chucking it when you’re done, they’re going to emulate that. Instead, teach them the importance of recycling. Not only should you try to minimize your carbon footprint, though, but you also need to take the time to educate them about waste and recycling.
Help Them Live a Clean Life
Unfortunately, adolescence is generally the time that most people start experimenting with illicit drugs. Not only can substance abuse start your child down a dangerous path, not only possibly affecting their future but also your household, but it’s also not environmentally sound, either. Illicit drug manufacturing is terrible for the environment and can leach into our groundwater, poison innocent animals, and cause toxic byproducts in our waste. If you’re struggling with substance issues with teens, then it’s essential to get them the help they need right away.
Teach Energy Efficiency at Home
Most of us probably have memories of our fathers chiding us for leaving the lights on in rooms we weren’t in, asking if we were trying to light up the whole neighborhood. While it may have seemed like a joke at the time, the fact is, there’s a lot of merit to your dad’s complaints. To help shape your child into an eco-conscious adult, you need to show them the importance of energy efficiency while they’re still young. They should be taught to not waste water or electricity, and if possible, you may want to upgrade to more greener appliances in your home, as well.
Instill the Love of Walking and Biking
What child doesn’t love riding their bike around the block? Not only can teaching your child to ride their bike give them hours of enjoyment, but it can also help teach them about reducing their carbon footprint when traveling, too. If you’re just going to the shop around the corner, why pile into the car and needlessly waste fuel? Instead, lace up your walking shoes and have your kids tag along with you, either on bike or foot. This is also a great way to get gentle exercise as a family, too!
As you can see, showing your child how to be more environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be overly stressful or lead to needless tears. By employing actionable, simple ways to make your family more green, you can help teach your child to be smart, eco-conscious adults and instill good habits that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.