With plastic being today’s hot topic, many of us are asking what we can do to help. One answer – become environmentally friendly ourselves and raise environmentally friendly children.
From creating sustainable kitchens to refusing single-use plastic, there are many ways that we can help protect the environment. However, if we want to find long-term solutions it is vital that we begin raising environmentally friendly children.
Here are 6 tips on how to raise environmentally friendly children:
Lead by example
If you don’t lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, there is little chance that your children will either. Leading by example is the most effective way to raise environmentally friendly children.
These at-home habits will teach your kids to lead a more sustainable life:
- Reusable kitchenware – swap the cling film for beeswax wraps and the plastic bags for reusable cloth ones. Choosing goods in glass containers over plastic ones will greatly reduce your plastic usage. If these tips become routine for you, they will become routine for your kids.
- Cleaning supplies – let your children see you cleaning your home with homemade green supplies. This reduces plastic and eliminates harmful cleaning substances from your home.
- Reusable nappies – while this may not appeal to some parents, it is a great way of reducing the volume of waste produced by your children. Each nappy takes 200 to 500 years to decompose, so you get an idea of how big an issue it is. If your older children see you using a real nappy on their siblings, they will be more likely to use them when they have kids of their own.
Books and movies
There are tons of eco-friendly themed books and movies that will encourage your budding environmentalist. Movies such as Wall-E, Happy Feet and Avatar (for older kids) all look at mans’ destructive relationship with Earth – and they will keep parents entertained too! Issues taught through fun mediums, such as film, will have a longer lasting impact on your child.
Again – lead by example. If your children see that you have an avid interest in your yard, they are more likely to as well. If possible, try growing a fruit and vegetable patch in your yard. Create an exciting atmosphere for your child as they see the vegetables grow. Involve your children in cooking the vegetables you have grown together. This is a great step in developing your child’s bond with nature.
Learning to share is an important lesson that will help you raise environmentally friendly children. Siblings sharing clothes and toys is a great way to cut down on over-consumption in your household and it will promote sustainable behaviour in later life. Be conscious about what goods you bring into your house. Wooden toys and organic clothing are examples of sustainable kids’ products.
Use eco-friendly packaging for your kids’ lunches. Avoid single-use packaging that they will throw away. Try and give an accurate sized lunch to avoid leftovers. If there is any waste, tell your children to bring it home in their container so you can add it to your compost bin.
It is important to begin your child’s environmental education at the earliest possible stage. Bring them outdoors regularly so they develop a natural love and respect for nature. Nature should become something that they want to protect.
Teaching your children to play among the grass and trees is a good way to begin. Pay attention to the birds and wildlife in your garden or local park. Let your child learn about nature through exploration. Developing a natural curiosity will be the greatest tool for successfully raising an environmentally friendly child.
If you have a babysitter or nanny, instruct them to make outdoor playing a priority too.