There is no reason why young children can’t learn to respect and cherish the environment, we can teach them simply by developing a relationship with the nature that surrounds them. Younger kids have the capacity to learn about the earth and to begin to cherish it, which will make more complex lessons even more teachable in the future.
Teaching your child to sort waste, respect the environment and consume less is the best way to raise awareness about the environment and create eco-friendly citizens. Teach them to value their environment, and benefit from it without hurting it. In this sense, you should first explain that planet Earth is everyone’s home. Not throwing waste on the ground, turning off the light when you leave a room, walk, bike or use public transportation instead of driving. There are plenty of little things to do on a daily basis to help preserve our planet.
The health of the planet depends on how people treat it. It’s about taking care of all species and, of course, all human beings. It’s so easy to teach our little people, but we have to be good role models. Here are 8 practical tips on how to teach your kids to respect the environment:
1. Give children experiences. Buy a plant for each child that they can take care of either inside or outside of the house. Make sure to let them pick out their own plants, and teach them what it takes to care for their plant. Vegetables are great because kids can start connecting where food comes from. Allow your children to learn about the texture, weight, and moisture of the soil in your backyard, by making mudpies or planting bulbs and some flowers, if they are a bit older. Craft simple experiences that bond your child to nature.
2. Tree planting. It’s important to teach them about trees for your children from an early age. Trees are great for the environment, and your eco-conscious child needs to know this fact. A fun way to do this is to plant a tree. Also take them along for tree planting exercises set up by different organizations especially during days such as Earth Day. In the process teach them how trees work well for the environment and why it is important not to cut them down.
3. Incorporate nature into your child’s outdoor play experience. Do you have a swingset in the backyard? Try adding a bird feeder to one of the poles. Attach a windsock or two. And if you and your child enjoy fresh veggies and herbs, build a veggie or herb garden outside, near their play space.
4. Cultivate a love for nature by awakening in your children an appreciation for the natural world. When you are outside with your children, take the time to highlight the distinct beauty of nature. Point out the picture perfect blueness of the sky on a clear, bright day, or the different shades of grey on a cloudy day. Touch trees, rocks leaves, feel the textures and temperatures. Alert all your senses.
5. Love of animals. Animals are affected by pollution in a big way, and you need to explain this to your children. The best way to raise an eco-conscious children that loves animals is to take them to places with animals from a tender age. Start by having a pet when they are children such as a bird, fish, hamster, a cat or even a family dog.
Involve the children in activities with the family pet such as taking them for walks and feeding them. Explain to them how important it is to keep the environment clean as waste harms animals and makes it unsafe for them to live in their habitats. Give examples such as waste in waterways that harm fish. Another issue to teach children about is that some animals are in danger of extinction. Create awareness about them and actions you can take to preserve them.
6. Examine the way you dispose of your garbage, and help your kids to discover what happens to their waste “beyond the bin”. Make sure they understand the difference between recyclable materials, compost, and garbage. There are so many fun upcycling and recycling projects to do together as a family. Using plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, egg trays, old furniture and old clothes. These family activities are fun and can be used to teach your child about environmental responsibility.
7. Drink your own water. Bottled water is expensive and, experts say, not any cleaner or safer than tap water. In fact, much bottled water is actually tap water that has been filtered. The water that comes out of home spigots in the Canada is extremely safe. Municipal water supplies are monitored constantly and the test results made public. The plastic bottles are made from polyethylene terepthalate (PET), which is derived from crude oil and can end up in landfills or in the oceans. So have your kids tote water from the tap in reusable bottles.
8. Raising Environmentally Conscious Consumers. Becoming environmentally conscious from a consumer standpoint was something learned for many adults. We can teach that for our children. This means focusing on recycled items, buying sustainable sourced food, finding energy-efficient appliances, and using biodegradable cleaning products. Even a few sustainable choices make a huge impact, and children tend to emulate these purchasing decisions as adults. Being an environmentally conscious consumer is more than what you purchase; it’s who you purchase from. Teaching your children about researching their purchases and giving their money to companies that value environmental issues will help them to continue that practice as they get older.
With these tips, your children will not only learn to embrace nature but will grow into adults that will respect the environment. Your kids will develop an appreciation of their responsibility as conscious inhabitants of Earth.