How to Teach Your Kids to be Eco-Conscious

T eaching children to be eco-conscious is important. It helps them develop an appreciation for their earth. When children are eco-conscious, they grow to become responsible adults. The good news is that teaching your kids to be eco-conscious is fun.

 

Teach Your Kids to be Eco
Teach Your Kids to be Eco

 

Teaching a child how to be eco-conscious can be challenging because the concept is a bit abstract, but as soon as your baby is born, he can begin to develop an awareness and appreciation of the Earth when you make green living part of his daily life.

 

Tips to teach your kids to be eco-conscious

1. Be a good role model.

This is perhaps the easiest way to teach your children to be eco-conscious. Children pay attention to what you do. If you recycle, reuse and pay attention to how you consume, your children will grow up with that example.

2. Discuss.

Look for learning moments to discuss why you are eco-conscious. For example, when you’re shopping you might choose to purchase an item at a flea market. Explain to your child why you’re buying used instead of new.

3. Help them explore nature.

Nature is what you’re trying to preserve and protect. If your child doesn’t get out and enjoy nature, they won’t have an appreciation for the earth. Take nature hikes. Enjoy the beach. Head to the mountains or take bike rides. Just get some fresh air and sunshine.

4. Field trips.

Some recycling centers, landfills, and water treatment plants offer tours. Check out your local facilities. What educational experiences are available? If they don’t commonly offer tours, consider visiting them on Earth day. Show your children what happens to our trash and waste water. Help them learn the cycle of consumption. It’ll help them appreciate what they use.

REDUCE.

  • When grocery shopping, teach your children how to choose products that have minimal packaging (and take along some reusable bags). We buy in bulk whenever possible which means more food, less packaging, and a lower grocery bill. We store bulk items like quinoa, rice, lentils and dried beans in glass mason jars.
  • Replace paper towels and napkins with hemp or linen cloths. When you must use paper products, show your children how to take only as many single-use items as they need.
  • Help your children discover the benefits of giving back rather than taking or accumulating more. Take your kids to donate gently used clothing, toys, and household items to local charities.

REUSE.

  • Make good use of scrap paper by having your children use them to create works of art. Encourage them to color on both sides of the paper.
  • Instead of using pre-packaged juice boxes or plastic water bottles, pick up a few BPA-free reusable bottles and fill them up before heading out. Lifefactory glass bottles with silicone sleeves are great. We also have some reusable Lunchbots stainless steel food containers and To-Go Ware bamboo utensils on hand.
  • Check out books from the local library rather than buying them new.
  • Buying gently used items saves money and planetary resources. Freecycle is a grassroots and non-profit program available in many cities that allows people to give or receive recycled items for free.
  • Upcycle toys and crafts out of containers, old baby clothes, and other household items.

RECYCLE.

  • Create an area in your home for recyclable items. Use different colored bins or allow your child to decorate and label each bin. Have your child help you sort and separate recyclable items and be sure to show your child how to rinse out certain items before placing them in the bins.
  • When shopping, read labels and purchase products that contain recycled materials, like bottles, cans, bags, paper, glass and other household items. Show your child the recycle symbol and have him help you identify the symbol on items during trips to the store.

5. Garden.

Gardening is a wonderful way to appreciate and experience the earth. If you don’t have space outside you can create a windowsill herb garden. Use recycled, reused and organic material to create your garden. For example, tin cans to plant your herb seeds in. Compost to fertilize the soil. Rainwater to water the plants.

Gardening is a wonderful way to appreciate and experience the earth. If you don’t have space outside you can create a windowsill herb garden. Use recycled, reused and organic material to create your garden. For example, tin cans to plant your herb seeds in. Compost to fertilize the soil. Rainwater to water the plants.

6. Make it a game.

Show your children how much water or electricity you use each month. Make it a game to lower your consumption. Turn off the lights when they’re not in use. Use water sparingly. Turn off all appliances. See how much you can reduce your electric, gas or water bill during the month. Then reward children for their efforts.

Show your children how much water or electricity you use each month. Make it a game to lower your consumption. Turn off the lights when they’re not in use. Use water sparingly. Turn off all appliances. See how much you can reduce your electric, gas or water bill during the month. Then reward children for their efforts.

7. Volunteer.

Become active in outdoor clean-ups. If your community has a “clean up the park” day, sign the family up. Volunteer at your recycling center. Or assist the recycling program at community events.

Raising Eco-Conscious Kids
Raising Eco-Conscious Kids

For example, many running events have recycling volunteers to make sure all those paper cups from the aid stations end up in the recycling bin rather than the street or the garbage. Show your children that the Earth is important and enlist their help in keeping it clean.

Most importantly, follow through on your words. If you tell your children that being environmentally conscious is important to you then follow it up with rules. Limit television viewing time. Ask them to turn off the lights. Make sure they don’t take twenty-minute showers. Create a recycling center in your home. When it comes to teaching children, follow through is important.

Children also naturally love to observe and emulate their parents, so leading by example by being good to the Earth in your daily actions is very impactful.