Kids learn what they see and one of the most important things you can teach them is that it is possible to live your life in a way that lets them enjoy the Earth and a modern lifestyle. This type of sustainable thinking lets them in turn leave the planet a better place for their children. If they learn it early, it will stay with them for their entire life. There is a lot to appreciate about environmental awareness and learning it doesn’t have to be a chore.
Here are 6 Easy Ways to Teach Environmental Awareness to Your Children
•Get out of the house – Even in the cities, there are parks to go to where they can see animals and plants. Learn a few cool or useful items about some common ones and see if that sparks their curiosity about others. Instead of going to a pool, go to the beach – rare is the child that doesn’t love to swim and finding interesting things at the beach is easy. Instead of a vacation to a theme park, consider a state or national park. Every state has amazing natural wonders to explore. Even if camping isn’t your think, there are cabins to rent at many of them and the closeness can help your family grow closer even as they grow closer to nature.
•Take day trips to places that focus on sustainability – recycling centers, landfills and water treatment plants usually offer tours. They are good ways to show kids that trash doesn’t magically disappear once the garbage truck comes. If they are more aware of where things go, they will be more mindful of what they use.
•Look for ways to teach why you should be Environmentally Aware – Before buying a new item, consider looking for a used one or a way to repurpose an existing item. Discuss the how and why of replacing an item instead of repairing it. Indulge their curiosity. If they ask questions you can’t answer, take the time to use your phone to find a good answer on the spot.
•Gardening – From window box to back yard, you can create awareness of nature and why to protect it by growing food. Something as small as herbs in a window box can be used to teach lessons in chemistry and biology. If you have a big yard, you can teach responsibility and self reliance while making your child aware of the impact of having food shipped in from all over the world or eating processed foods. Learn to compost, even in the smallest apartment you can turn your food scraps from waste into plant food.
•Make it fun – offer rewards for reducing your electric, heat or water bill. See if you can make your home a “zero waste home”. If big factories and entire cities can do it, challenge your family to do it as well.
•Be a role model – Volunteer for cleanups or recycling drives. Pick up trash on the ground as you walk by instead of ignoring it. Make sure you shut off lights and unused appliances. Kids see what you do and “do as I say, not as I do” has never worked and probably never will.
Follow through; don’t make it a one time thing. Once you make the changes, make them stick. Set up a recycling center in your home so that it is something you do without thinking. The simple thing of environmental awareness is important. With more and more people competing for finite resources, teach them that it is possible to live in a way that is in harmony with nature, not in conflict.