No matter your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that the current effects of climate change are terrifying. It’s clear that our planet is suffering and while our population and impact continue to negatively play a part, we need to start making changes ASAP (if not already). And while a lot of us hopefully have habits in place to help, it’s equally as important that the next generation be mindful as well – as they are next in line to inherit the problems. Here are a few ways to teach them to be eco-conscious.
Using less plastic
We’ve written extensively about lessening plastic in your homes and it’s a great place to start with kids. Removing ziplocks from their lunches, plastic water bottles, packaged snakes, and the like.
Same goes for toys – a MAJOR contributor to the overuse of plastic and our waste problem. While I understand that not all kids and families want wooden toys or can escape all plastic, the least we can do is to get the most out of the plastic toys we do accumulate. Since most larger donation places (Goodwill, etc) won’t take toys since they’re hard to properly clean, think about swapping out with friends, mom groups, and second-hand children’s stores that accept cleaned toys.
Studies show that children physically playing with soil and gardening make them more appreciative of Mother Nature, and more likely to treat her better. I love the idea of growing a garden with children and making that a weekend activity that gets them outdoors. If you live somewhere cold, don’t forget about herb gardens that you can do indoors.
Using less water
Teach children to turn the faucet off as they brush their teeth, soap their hands, pour extra water into plants, etc. Small but effective.
Volunteering in nature
Let’s be honest – kids these days could use less screen time and more nature time. As my son grows, I’m hoping to remember this and to REALLY instill nature into our daily lives. On top of that, think about doing monthly volunteer sessions that have to with nature so that our kids know that it takes work to care for our planet. Doing a beach or park clean up, helping on a farm, planting trees, etc.
Being grateful for natural resources
My son is only 9 months old but I’ve already started instilling gratitude towards our planet and the natural resources. Whether it’s thanking the water that he bathes in once we start draining it, talking about the leaves on the trees and how beautiful they are, or how lucky we are to live by the ocean, I hope he grows up with love in his heart for our planet – and that he does his part to make it better.