As parents, it’s our job to teach our children the skills that they will need to grow into successful adults. We make time to help our kids with their homework, to teach them to cook and clean, and show them how to tell time and tie their shoelaces, but what about teaching them about the environment? Far too many of us are failing our children when it comes to teaching them about the importance of looking after the environment. They are the future of the planet, so we need to teach them how to look after it and preserve the earth for future generations. The question is, what are the best ways to go about doing that?
Watch documentaries with them
There are hundreds of fantastic documentaries about the impact that we have on the environment, many of which are aimed at children. Find a couple of documentaries that you think would interest your child and watch them together. Answer any questions that they have and help them to understand how they, as an individual, impact the environment. Use easy examples, such as how when we use too much energy we melt the ice caps, meaning that the penguins and polar bears have nowhere to live. If there’s anything that your child asks you that you don’t know, research it together.
Lead by example
Studies have shown that children tend to pick up their parents’ habits and copy what they do, so one of the best ways to encourage your kids to be mindful of the environment is to lead by example. This means making green choices yourself and ensuring that your home is as eco-friendly as possible. The key to this is using eco-friendly appliances, researching how having solar panels fitted by a solar company could help you to be greener, and only using environmentally-friendly products, such as soaps and washing detergent. Little changes like buying meat locally and growing your own fruits and vegetables are also great, as these teach kids about the importance of buying local and using less chemicals. Your children will always want to do what you do, so leading by example is a must when it comes to encouraging your kids to be more mindful of the environment.
Encourage them to make greener choices
It’s all well and good telling your kids how to be greener, but if you want them to get into the habit of doing so, it’s best to gently encourage them not tell them to do things. For instance, if you notice that your child has finished playing on their games console and has left it turned on, you might be tempted to say ‘please can you turn your games console off.’ Instead, it’s best to give them some gentle encouragement, such as by saying ‘is there anything that you’ve forgotten to do now that you’ve finished with your games console?’. This will give them time to think about what they have forgotten to do and will help to encourage them to get into good habits when it comes to leading a greener life.
Believe it or not, teaching your little ones to be more mindful of the environment doesn’t have to be difficult. Take note of the tips and ideas above, and you can make it a relatively painless process.