Raising children who are conscious of the environment and passionate about protecting it is one of the best ways to fight climate change. With our future in their hands, we must do all that we can to ensure our children will be stewards of this planet when they become adults. In this blog post we share 11 tips on how parents can help raise environmentally conscious kids.
#1. Find a sustainable school for your child
There are more and more schools around the globe that place sustainability and environmental protection at the core of everything they do (check our recent blog post on the most sustainable schools in the world). In general, when looking for a school for your child, look into what initiatives local schools have when it comes to sustainability, from reducing energy and water use to encouraging composting and recycling, or organising regular clean-up activities in a local park or at a nearby beach. By sending your child to a school that prioritises environmental protection, you’ll be teaching them great life lessons about taking care of the earth from an early age. In addition, your child will be surrounded by kids with the same knowledge and values.
#2. Let your child join weekly bush school classes
Bush schools are special outdoor classes that teach children how to observe and interact with nature in an engaging way. Bush schools provide children with opportunities for self-discovery and growth in the great outdoors. By taking part in activities such as tree climbing, tracking animals or baking mud pies, young minds are enriched through exposure to nature's wonders - from stimulating their creativity and curiosity to boosting confidence levels and resilience. It is a natural environment where kids can learn at their own pace while making decisions that help shape them into strong individuals.
#3. Expose your child to children’s books about environmental protection, plastic pollution and sustainability
As early as you can, start introducing children’s books about protecting nature, reducing plastic waste, composting food scraps, and other ways to be kind to the planet. Children learn best through stories, so choosing some fun and engaging ones will help them easily soak up these important lessons!
#4. Join local clean-ups as a whole family
Get your child involved in local clean-ups that focus on removing trash from beaches, rivers, or parks. If there is an upcoming event in your area, be sure to attend it with your child and show them how even small efforts can make a difference when everyone works together.
#5. Lead by example
At home, you should also try to lead by example and create sustainable habits for your entire family such as composting food scraps, recycling, avoiding single-use plastic items, or making use of reusable shopping or trash bags instead of disposable ones. Along with this, be sure to have regular conversations with your children about why these behaviours are important so they understand the importance of environmental protection from an early age.
#6. Teach your child how to mend things instead of throwing them away
This will not only save you money, but it also helps reduce waste that would end up in landfills and oceans. It’s also a great way to teach your child about resourcefulness and sustainability.
#7. Give experience gifts
Instead of material things such as gadgets or toys give your child experiences for their birthday or Christmas. Experiences like going on trips, visiting animal sanctuaries, or attending live performances can be far more meaningful and memorable than any material gift.
#8. Go vegan as a whole family
According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of all human-induced emissions. Going vegan or at least reducing animal products in your diet will thus help reduce your family’s environmental footprint. In addition, transitioning to a more plant-based diet will help you to reduce the amount of animal cruelty and suffering. Adopting a vegan lifestyle while involving your children in the process will help them learn about animal welfare, healthy diet and environmental protection.
#9. Avoid using personal vehicles where possible
Walking, biking or opting for public transportation instead of car trips is an excellent way to teach your child the value of physical activity and how taking public transportation or biking to places can save money and help reduce carbon emissions from cars.
#10. Get close to nature
Let your children spend as much time in nature as possible, such as visiting parks, forests, or beaches. This will help them learn how to appreciate nature and animals, as well as be inspired to protect the environment.
#11. Go camping
Camping with the family is an amazing way to pass on your love of nature and teach important lessons about looking after our environment. With most resorts drowning in single-use plastic and creating mountains of food waste, camping allows you to embrace natural surroundings through activities that will excite even your youngsters!
By taking these steps, we can help ensure that the next generation is better prepared to protect our planet from climate change and other environmental challenges. Doing so will also give them a much better shot at living in a safe and healthy world for many years to come!