Guest Post by Scott Reddler
For green parents, it is so important to teach children awareness of the environment from an early age. Children are the next generation responsible for caring for the planet and parents can demonstrate their own commitment to eco-friendliness by instilling the same in their little ones. Fortunately, raising green kids is easy and there are many things parents can do to incorporate green living into their households. Here are our top four tips on raising Earth loving, eco-friendly children today.
#1 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
One of the first places to encourage green living in children is at home. Teach children to cut down on waste by reducing, reusing and recycling. Children can be taught to reduce waste, reuse items and recycle everything they can. In other words, practice a zero-waste policy where you help to keep as much as possible from ending up in landfills. This can be done in a number of ways. First children can be taught to share and swap unwanted items. This can prevent things from ending up in the trash. Unused items can also be repurposed into new ones. For example, old crayons can be melted together to form fun, new rainbow crayons that young children will certainly enjoy. Items like cans and newspapers can be used for arts and crafts projects that the entire family can enjoy. Also, having children separate their recyclables is a great way to teach them to never waste things—these are lessons that will last them for a lifetime.
#2 Conserve Energy at Home
Another practical approach to teaching children green skills is to have them conserve energy at home. Encouraging simple practices such as turning off the water while brushing teeth or turning off the lights when leaving a room can go a long way towards helping the environment. When you save energy at home you reduce the amount of harmful emissions that are being released back into the environment. Other helpful habits for children to practice include unplugging unused items like tablets and smart phone chargers when not in use. Also have children turn off ceiling fans when they leave the room and close the refrigerator door instead of leaving it open for prolonged periods. All in all, such eco-friendly habits will help children protect the environment and even cut costs on your utility bills!
# 3 Teach Respect for Nature
Another great way to teach children green habits is to instill in them a respect for mother nature. When children understand how their decisions directly impact the environment they will make much better decisions. For instance, teach children environmental awareness by getting outdoors as a family. Taking nature walks and teaching children the importance of enjoying nature without disturbing natural habitats is important. This includes refraining from littering or picking up sticks and rocks. Plus, heading outdoors and getting some fresh air is a great way for children to get connected with the great outdoors.
Another way to teach children respect for nature is to buy local organic foods from farmers markets. By shopping at farmers markets, you provide children with valuable lessons on supporting the local environment. Alternatively, you can help children understand the importance of nature by starting a family garden. Children can grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers for a hands-on lesson on the importance of soil, water, and sunshine and how they all work together to sustain life. Letting children get their hands dirty is a great way to keep them environmentally aware.
#4 Lead by Example
Lastly, lead by example. Remember, parents are their children’s greatest teachers. When it comes to important life lessons, including lessons on how to protect the Earth, parents can help their children understand eco-conscious living by protecting the environment themselves. For example, parents can take their own bags to the supermarket instead of relying on plastic bags; they can carpool or bike to work often; and they can use eco-friendly cleaning supplies at home, just to name a few. Parents can also talk about protecting the environment often and share ideas with their children to make the planet a greener place for the entire family. This will keep kids on the fast track to greener living and turn them into leaders who are excited about protecting their planet.
By following these very practical tips for raising eco-kids who love protecting the Earth you will guarantee that you have done your part to protect the planet not just for you and your family, but for everyone else as well!
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*Photos courtesy of Scott Reddler