As we read headlines about “affluenza” and the self-centeredness people are displaying, it can be difficult to picture a world that works together for the common good of everyone and the environment. At times, raising eco-conscious children can seem impossible and a task that no man can achieve.
The “gimmees” are often a natural part of raising children, but lately it feels that our children’s requests are becoming demands and turning our sweet little ones into a generation with only one concern: their own happiness. This entitlement can be a problem for many reasons, but the health of our planet is a serious issue looming over our kids’ futures.
11 Ways To Raise Eco-Conscious Children
Unfortunately, we can no longer ignore the environmental crisis we are facing, making it vital to raise eco-conscious children if we want them to inherit a promising future and legacy. Thankfully, there is hope. By starting early, we are able to implement lessons and activities into our daily routines to raise eco-conscious children.
We are able to use our homes and family life as a classroom for instilling earth friendly values. With a little effort and intentional living, we can help develop a desire in our sons and daughters to reduce their carbon footprints.
We have compiled a list of eleven suggestions to help make this a reality:
Go outside. Children need to be outdoors experiencing the miracle of nature and to gain an appreciation of the environment. Take a walk, visit a park, pitch a tent, or hike the local nature area to let kids get to know their world on a more intimate level.
Get cooking. Teach children about real food, clean eating, wastefulness, and nutrition by getting them involved in the kitchen. Take advantage of meal planning, local ingredients, and seasonal produce to illustrate green concepts.
Dust off your library card. Visit the local library to take advantage of the resources available for every member of the family. Check out books, movies, and technology without creating extra waste for the landfills while enjoying classes and activities to help you on this journey.
Teach by example. Telling our kids not to waste or litter is a start, but children are keen observers. Show them how important caring for our planet is by volunteering to pick up trash, limit shower lengths, or beautify local parks. Make sure you recycle and practice what you preach to send the message that if everyone works together we can make a big impact.
Embrace repurposing. Look for ways to update recyclables or old belongings. Head to social media or Pinterest for inspiration to find value in old books, toys, clothing, or recyclables. Remember to have fun while bonding over a new project!
Recycle. We hear all the time about recycling, but make sure your children have the tools necessary to follow through on this technique. Designate an area that is easily accessible for kids to sort and store recyclables.
Get dirty. Grow vegetables or fruits to allow our sons and daughters the joy of working in the dirt and learning about their environment. This hands on approach will drive home lessons in sustainability, science, and bonding opportunities for the family.
Limit the amount of “junk” in the home. Avoid kid’s meal toys and cheap toys from dollar stores. Often they just pile up in toy boxes or trash cans because they are easily broken. Be purposeful with the items you buy and look for “quality over quantity” to reduce stress on our environment.
Visit second hand stores. Garage sales and thrift stores can save you a lot of money and keep items from heading to the landfill. Before buying new, look for gently used or previously owned treasures.
Look for projects to help reduce the family’s carbon footprints. Include the entire family to install weather stripping or DIY activities to improve the home. Most children enjoy using tools, working alongside parents, and taking pride in their work.
Challenge children to reduce their energy consumption. Look for ways to lower the electric bill and make it a game by rewarding them if they are able to keep the bill under a certain amount each month. For example, we have a family goal to keep the monthly fee under $150. If we are successful, we subtract the amount billed from $150 and split the difference among the children. It’s a win-win! We save money without nagging and the kids enjoy the extra cash every month.
How does your family raise eco-conscious children?