Start YoungIt’s easier to get your young child to care about the planet from the beginning than it is to try to teach a teenager to start caring all of a sudden. Younger children are naturally caring and they aren’t under the influence of their friends like older kids are. The more you can influence them in their toddler and pre-school years about caring for the planet, the more it will become a way of life for them.
Teach Them How Beautiful Our Planet IsShowing them the wonders of the world will inspire them to keep it healthy. You might not have the money for a trip to the mountains or to visit the ocean. But you could take your child plenty of other places locally that will show them how beautiful our world is. A trip to an orchard field or a nearby lake can open their eyes to the beauty that’s out there for us to protect. Related Reading: 8 Sinchies Holiday Activities to Beat Boredom
Use Their CuriosityKids are naturally curious about everything around them. You can use that curiosity in your favor by getting them to wonder about how to improve the environment and where their everyday products come from. You can ask them if they have any questions for you about the Earth. Just make sure you have some time on your hands because there are bound to be several you’ll have to answer.
Show Them the ConsequencesIt’s hard to feel protective about something until you see how it’s being mistreated. You can teach your child about what our abuse of the planet is doing to it. You can teach them about pollution and what it’s doing to the marine life and ecosystems of our ocean. You can show them that the littlest thing can have consequences. You can talk to them about global warming and other issues as well. If your child is young when you’re trying to teach them, you don’t have to give them a doom and gloom lecture that will terrify them. You want them to care about the environment, but not be terrified about the current situation. Focus on your corner of the world -- showing your child how litter is on the ground at your local park or how you can recycle things at home to preserve our natural resources.
Show Them Small Steps They Can TakeMost adults do things every day that harm the environment. Many of the things we do aren’t good for the planet, like driving our cars to work, neglecting to recycle items, and using disposable diapers instead of reusable cloth diapers. It wouldn’t be realistic for us to stop all of our habits and behaviors that aren’t good for the planet. But you can teach your child that if everyone took simple steps to make some small changes, we would have a much healthier planet. Some of the tiny changes that will add up over time that your child can take includes:
- Growing a backyard garden or buying food at a farmer’s market: This cuts down on the transportation and packaging that would be used to bring fruits and vegetables to a grocery store for you to buy there.
- Turning off the lights when you leave the room: You can teach your child that this saves energy and money for you.
- Take shorter showers: This helps conserve water and the energy you need to heat it for a long shower. It can be easy to lose track of time when you’re enjoying a shower, so you could add a waterproof clock in the shower so your child can keep an eye on the time.
- Walk or bike when you can: Teach children that cars use gas and oil, and that the best way to get around is on foot or bike.
- Plant a tree: Tell your child that the air they breathe is oxygen. Then blow their mind by explaining that trees help us by producing oxygen. That will make them want to plant trees whenever they can.
Keep At ItCaring about the environment is a work in progress. All of the lessons you’re teaching may not sink in immediately, but remember, you’re not running a sprint -- you’re in a marathon. Given enough time, lessons, and conversations, your child is bound to have a healthy respect for the planet someday.
About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two, a writer at Studyclerk, and an editor for the parenting blog Mom Loves Best. Jenny is passionate about sustainable living methods and raising awareness for environmental protection and preservation in our current and future generations.