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9 Ways To Raise Eco-Conscious Kids
Small hands. Big impact.
Raising an eco-conscious kid is all about introducing your child to sustainable habits one step at a time.
The most important thing we can pass on is that each of us is responsible for the health of the planet. And if we each take steps towards becoming more environmentally friendly, we might be able to make a difference.
Let’s look at a few easy ways to raise eco-conscious kids without lectures or documentaries - though that’s always a great next step!
1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
The famous chant! Recycling is a great way to introduce conscious habits. When making a meal or doing crafts, ask your child to separate the waste material into rubbish and recycling. Also, a trip to the local tip is sure to go down a treat!
Another way to introduce environmentally friendly practices is to donate old clothes and toys to a charity shop instead of throwing them away. When you are there, you might like to let your child select a toy or a piece of clothing - oh the beauty (and affordability) of second-hand shopping!
2. Spend time outside
One of the very best ways to raise eco-conscious children is to nurture their love of nature - and what’s the best way to do that? Get outside! Kids love nothing more than jumping in muddy puddles, collecting sticks, throwing stones into rivers or lakes, and marveling at all creatures big and small.
The more you get outside, the more your children will connect with nature and will want to protect it.
3. Trash hunt
If you notice that your local park has a litter problem, and let’s be honest, it often does, you and your child could be eco-heroes by spending a bit of time cleaning up! Take a bag, a stick, and a pair of gloves each and see who can collect the most trash in the allotted time.
Make sure you explain what can be picked up, and what can’t. Anything sharp and pointy is off limits!
Once you’re back at home, take time to sort what you’ve collected into rubbish and recycling.
4. Take them grocery shopping
Head to the supermarket with your children and take time to decide which is the most sustainable choice when it comes to each item on the list.
For example, you might like to:
- Choose fresh fruit and vegetables instead of produce that has been wrapped in plastic.
- Opt for pasta and rice that is packaged in boxes rather than in plastic.
5. Be aware of energy usage
At home, make it a habit to turn lights, taps, and electronics off as soon as you’ve finished using them. A smart meter is a fun way to show your children how the household energy usage changes depending on what’s plugged in and turned on.
6. Get to know insects
Creepy crawlies are nothing to be afraid of - in fact, maybe we should remove ‘creepy’ from that phrase...
Get your children an ant farm or bug hotel so that they can watch the fascinating ways that insects live, and learn about the important role they play in nature.
7. Grow a vegetable garden
Eating food from your garden is not only one of the most sustainable ways to consume food, but it’s also much better for your health! Growing vegetables from seeds is an amazing process for children to be involved in.
You could start by planting seeds in egg boxes until they’ve sprouted - that way your children will be able to witness them grow each day. When it comes to planting the seedlings, make sure that your children stay involved with watering, weeding, and collecting vegetables.
If you don’t have a garden but want to do some indoor growing, try super-easy, quick growing cress from a packet of seeds, small varieties of carrots, or if you have a windowsill with all-day sunshine, give tomatoes a try!
8. Start composting
Food waste is a huge problem around the world. By starting a compost bin in your garden you’ll avoid putting food waste into your bin and also have nutrient-rich humus to feed your vegetables.
9. Walk whenever possible
When travelling short distances, try leaving the car at home and walking instead. If it’s a little bit too far to go by foot, you could also attach a kids’ cart to the back of a bicycle. Not only is this better for the environment, but you’ll get some exercise while enjoying the scenery and each other’s company.
10. Collect rainwater
Whatever happened to rainwater butts? Well, we think that they should make a comeback. Having one of these in your garden will help you to collect rainwater that can be used in the house and garden.
Instead of using tap water to water your plants, use the rainwater that’s been collected by your water butt! The planet will thank you and your kids will have a lot of fun - they’ll be able to sustainably play with water to their heart’s content.
Explaining what it means to be eco-friendly
If your child is old enough to understand the concept, you might like to start explaining what it means to be eco-friendly. Here are a few things that you can talk to them about to get started:
- Eco-friendly means earth-friendly.
- Plastic takes anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose, meaning that it will remain as rubbish on the earth for all of that time.
- When we recycle different materials, they get turned into new things.
- Looking after the planet means buying things that aren’t damaging to it.
When your child is old enough, you might like to watch a David Attenborough documentary with them so that they can better understand how important it is that we all behave in an eco-conscious way.
Take the pressure out of raising eco-friendly kids by introducing one new practice or habit at a time. Soon enough, your kids will be telling you off for leaving the light on!
Learning how to take care of the environment can be a wonderful opportunity to spend time talking to and bonding with our children. After all, a trash hunt in the park is always going to be fun - for a little while, at least!