Childhood is the best time to teach your kids positive habits that will stay with them for a lifetime. And when it comes to teaching your kids about the planet they live in and the importance of green living, the earlier the better. Here are five ways to help you teach your child to be eco-friendly, and to protect and care for the environment.
Let your children know why
As a parent, I’ve noticed that children are more likely to listen to you when they understand the “why” behind it. But at the same time, don’t cloud their young minds with fear and confusion by bombarding them with complex concepts or mind-boggling figures and statistics.
Instead, try to focus on simpler, positive concepts that they can easily see in action in daily life. For example, you can teach kids as young as six years about how rain is formed and how water and soil helps plants grow. Then tell them how they can save water by turning the tap off while they brush their teeth or by taking shorter showers.
Grow a garden
Show your child where food comes from by helping him take care of a plant in your vegetable garden. Children love to get their hands dirty and besides, nothing can beat the wonder of a child who sees a tall plant grow out of a tiny seed that he planted in the dirt with his own hands.
Make it fun
Children learn so much through games and fun-based activities. But sadly, much of their idle time now is spent on video games, television or mall hopping, blissfully ignorant of the fun and enjoyment nature has to offer.
As a parent, you can change that by scheduling hiking or camping trips on the weekends instead of trips to the mall. These outings will not only be fun, but will also give you a good opportunity to bond with your children, away from the idiot box and pesky mobile phones. Who knows, it may also be the start to a fulfilling, lifelong relationship between your child and nature.
Not to forget the 3Rs of eco-friendly living
Everyone knows the 3Rs of eco-friendly loving – but how many of us follow them religiously? The earlier you instill in your children the habits of reusing, reducing and recycling, the easier it will be for them to follow these principles later in life. Keep separate bins for paper, glass, metal and plastic so that it is easier for young children to say what goes where. Instead of buying new toys for your son every month, enroll him in the local toy library. Encourage him to donate his old clothes, books or toys to a charity so that others can also benefit from them. Show him how old Mason jars can be turned into cute pencil holders.
And finally, lead by example
For most children, parents are their ultimate role models. Do you think he will be able to understand the importance of eco-friendly living if he sees you not practice the principles in daily life? Lead by example and rest assured that your child would grow up to be a responsible, environment-conscious citizen of tomorrow.
Image courtesy Ruth Hartnup via Flickr
Image courtesy Pavel Ahmed via Flickr