Everyone who practices eco-friendly living is contributing to the sustainability of our environment in some amount. To make the greatest difference, however, we need to encourage as many others as possible to help in conservation, recycling, and awareness practices. So why not get the kids involved?
The best time to teach them positive habits toward the environment is when they are young, so start
Here are ten ways to encourage eco-friendly habits in children.
1.Set an example
Parents are their children’s first role models, so you have to demonstrate what it is you want them to do in eco-friendly living. If you want them to turn off the water while brushing their teeth, do it yourself to be a good example. Turn off the lights upon leaving a room, open the windows for a fresh breeze, and turn off or unplug appliances that are not in use. The more they see you do it, the more often they will remember it as a positive trait for themselves.
2.Reduce, reuse, recycle
Teach your kids how to reduce by getting washable rags to replace paper towels. Purchase a reusable bag to take with you whenever you go shopping. Separate paper, glass, and plastic for recycling. Help the kids make fun, decorative boxes to sort the recycled items to make it more fun. Have them come up with new ways to use old items that would otherwise be thrown away. Ignite their creativity and help them grow and learn more about the world they live in.
3.Plant a garden
Prepare and plant a garden with your children to show them how much money you can save on groceries. Let them get deep in the dirt to experience the wonders of the earth and its creations. When the vegetables and herbs have grown, they can take pride in saying it is a project of theirs. Make sure to go organic while doing it too – pesticide-free with natural seeds.You can search with your child online to find many natural ways to deal with your garden’s bugs and weeds.
Get the kids immersed in the wonders of nature at a state park or wildlife refuge. Teach them about the importance of all living things and how to preserve them. Let them witness the beauty of natural resources such as flowing streams and towering trees. Experiencing the environment in its natural state will help children understand our dependence on the existing ecosystems and how they can make a difference.
5.Involve the whole family
Make sure your whole family is involved in the eco-friendly efforts you teach your children. Encouragement and example from everyone around them helps reaffirm the importance of what they are doing. Be sure that everyone is consistent in their eco-friendly actions to conserve and preserve, as well as to set memorable positive examples.
Get the kids involved in your community action group for the environment. If there is a group just for them, allow a little independence so they can also learn from others and share with you their new experiences. This is a great social opportunity for the kids and gets them recognition in the community.
7.Take them shopping
Take the kids along when you go grocery shopping. Explain to them that you buy certain items to remain eco-friendly and support organic farming. Compare eco-friendly cleaners to the more popular ones with all the hazardous chemicals, and help them understand the effects each has on the environment. Let them make choices while shopping as you help them start a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle.
8.Go to the landfill
Visit your nearest landfill so they can see firsthand what happens to all of our waste. Explain how conserving, reusing, and recycling contribute to decrease our waste output. Let them see all the appliances that are dumped and no longer used for spare parts or the ones that simply became outdated. Return home and review with proper waste management practices that they will remember throughout life.
9.Start an energy saving project
Teach your children to be independent of the public utilities by installing your own wind and solar power generating system. It will be a fun project that your kids can help you with. There is lots of great training material and videos online to get you started. Programs like Earth4Energy and Power4Home both offer eBooks that will give you a fast start. This is also a practical resources lesson for the children because they learn how to save money and energy at the same time.
10.Line-dry the laundry
Whenever weather permits, show children that laundry can be dried outside by hanging in the sun and breeze. Have them help hang clothes then bring them in when dry. When they get in the habit of it, they can do it independently and lessen their own carbon footprint a little bit. Remind them that this helps conserve money and energy for use at a later time.
Since children are the future, they need to learn eco-friendly habits early to make the biggest impact. Set an example and explain everything you do, both methods and reasons. Encourage your children to do the same water and energy-conserving actions you do so that they can independently practice “Green” living. As long as you give them good reason to do it, they will look up to you and follow your environmentally friendly examples and share them as they get older. Teach your children to be eco-friendly and your community will be that much closer to a fully Green initiative.