Teaching children to be eco-conscious isn’t a one-time discussion – it’s an entire lifestyle, and if you don’t support it the whole way, they may not learn what you’re trying to teach. Here’s how to raise children so they’ll be properly conscious of the environment.
1) Help them enjoy nature
If your children are shut inside all day, they’re not going to care about the environment nearly as much as children who get to go outside and play on a regular basis. Try taking your child outside on a regular basis… and if they can have fun, that’s even better! If they’re able to truly enjoy the outside world, they’ll be less willing to do things that can hurt it.
Good activities for enjoying nature include:
- Biking to and from the store
- Visiting parks and other recreational areas
- Hiking across different sorts of terrain (forests and mountains are both good options)
- Heading down to the beach
- Attending camps and other long excursions
- Educational trips where children can be taught about different kinds of plants, whether they’re safe or harmful, and how they work together as part of the ecosystem
2) Practice what you preach
Children don’t learn only from what you say – they learn from the way you behave, too. If they don’t see you being eco-conscious, then no matter what you say, they’re ultimately going to conclude that it isn’t very important. That’s why you have to practice what you preach and work to live up to these ideals. Good ways to do this include actively trying to save on your electric bill, taking reusable bags with you when you go shopping, and recycling as much as you can.
3) Make a game out of it
Children are great, but there are times when they just don’t understand some of the concepts we’re trying to teach them. If your kids haven’t developed to the point that eco-consciousness makes sense to them, try making a game out of the behaviours you want them to display. Here are some ideas:
- See who can recycle the most on a weekly or monthly basis
- Create useful new things out of recyclable materials
- Offer stickers each time they do something particularly eco-conscious, and reward them once they’ve reached a certain number
4) Get them involved
Few things motivate children more than an opportunity to demonstrate how grown up they are… so try getting them involved! This can include:
- Asking them to come up with eco-conscious activities
- Helping them plant a garden that can grow food they want to eat
- Working with other families to create a swap meet where kids can exchange things they don’t want for things they do
Raising eco-conscious kids is a full-time job, but it’s no harder than raising them any other way. In the end, what it comes down to is demonstrating that it’s truly important to care about your impact on the world. Once you do that, it won’t be long before the rest of it falls into place.