Teach your child to be eco-conscious.
The future is in our children’s hands. It is never too early to start to teach your child to be eco-conscious. As a parent, you play a major role in helping your child form a green mindset and develop eco-friendly skills.
Why start at an early age?
It’s important to teach your child about the environment at an early age because these lessons will become their normal behaviour. In other words, the habits they learn, the eco-friendly skills they possess, and the time they spend learning about nature will shape the future of environmental sustainability.
Establishing good habits.
The best place to start is by being a role model yourself. Children look to their parents for guidance and mimic their behaviour. So, if you want to teach your children about recycling, you should be practicing recycling as a part of your household routine.
Some simple habits to establish early are:
- Recycling (which items go into which bin).
- Always use bins, so no littering.
- Keep lights off when not in use.
- Turn off the water when they brush their teeth.
- Use reusable bags for a grocery shop.
- Use reusable water bottles, cutlery, and straws.
- Donate outgrown clothes and toys.
- Ride, cycle or use public transport where possible.
Raising environmentally conscious consumers.
To raise environmentally conscious consumers, we must teach our children to research items they wish to purchase and give their money to companies that value environmental issues. Even a few sustainable choices make a positive impact. Starting this habit early will help them to continue that practice as they get older. Some ways to practice being eco-conscious consumers are:
- Purchasing recycled or second-hand items.
- Buying sustainably sourced food.
- Buying energy-efficient appliances.
- Using biodegradable cleaning products.
Encourage an interest in the outdoors.
Firstly, provide your child with more outdoor experiences and they will begin to associate their environment with interest and happiness. Developing an emotional connection to the environment can be paramount for your child’s future interest in environmental issues. It can nurture them to naturally become eco-conscious. Secondly, encourage their outdoor interests, questions and foster their appreciation of nature.
Some outdoor experiences can include:
- Walks, hikes, and outings to a forest, National Park, lake or ocean.
- Allow them to climb trees, look at bugs, and admire wildlife.
- When visiting nature, learn about the native plants, trees, wildlife, and insects.
You can use these outdoor experiences to teach your child about environmental issues such as:
- Plastic pollution.
- Gas emissions.
- Energy consumption.
- Responsible use of water.
Teaching children to grow plants encourages an attitude of conservation and respect for nature. Children are born explorers who enjoy planting seeds, watering plants, or searching for insects. There is a common misconception that you need a large space to teach your child about growing plants. However, a small space is sufficient and simple `plants are generally better. This is because children are more likely to remain interested and less likely to become overwhelmed.
Growing plants is about teaching children the basics, such as plants need healthy soil, sunlight, and water. If you grow some edible plants, children get a first-hand experience of the food cycle when they appear on the dinner table. Some ideas of what to start with are:
- Grow indoor plants.
- Plant beans or sunflowers in cups placed in a sunny window.
- Plant some lettuce.
- Grow watercress in eggshells.
- Grow a tomato plant in a pot on your balcony.
- Or plant a window box with herbs or hardy flowers.
Show your child ways to support local farms.
Through growing plants at home, children begin to understand where their food comes from. A visit to a farm or farmer’s market helps them to form a deeper understanding of where food comes from and appreciate the work of farmers.
Teach your child to be eco-conscious.
In conclusion, teach your child to be eco-conscious because the future is in their hands. It is up to parents to be role models of eco-conscious behaviour as our children mimic our behaviour. Establishing good habits early is key for conserving the Earth´s natural resources for future generations.
You could also choose to support organisations like Tree-Nation. Tree-Nation is a non-profit organisation that allows citizens and companies to plant trees all around the world and offset their CO2 emissions.