For many people, being an environmentalist is very much a part of their personality and morals. As such, they may want their kids to follow the same values and concerns for the environment. After all, your children will be the ones to take over in the action to save the planet.
Children naturally mimic the practices of their parents so even as toddlers, you can already start making steps into teaching them about the environment.
Start at home
When teaching your child how to be more environmentally conscious, you should start by introducing to them the basic ideas at home. Practice eco-friendly habits at home and incorporate them into your daily life. When this becomes the norm at home, the children will follow the same behavior when they grow up.
One way you can start is by making your own home more eco-friendly. If you haven’t already, make sure that your home is renovated to be more energy-efficient. This way, you can use less electricity and live a more sustainable life. Installing solar panels at home is also a good way to show them how eco-friendly options can work just as well as regular energy sources.
Another thing that you should do while they are young is to teach them to conserve energy. Gently teach them that electrical devices shouldn’t be left on when not in use. They should also be taught the value of reusing items and properly segregating their trash. Habits like these can be harder to fix once they are older, so it is best to start as early and as consistently as possible.
Immerse them in nature
One problem that kids have today is that they are too absorbed in their gadgets and stay indoors most of the time. Studies show that the amount of time that kids aged between 9 and 12 years old spend outside and do outdoor activities have reduced by 50 percent. This is an unfortunate statistic because being out in nature and doing physical activities have a wide range of benefits.
Fortunately, this can be easily fixed. You can spend weekends and vacations by going on hikes or picnics in the garden. Being in a natural landscape engages all their senses and makes them curious about the world around them. If kids enjoy nature, then they become more concerned about taking care of it in the future. They also become more respectful of nature and the animals that live in it.
Aside from that, exposure to nature also has the bonus of improving their mental and physical health. Children who regularly go outside into nature perform better in school and experience less stress overall.
Prepare meals with more vegetables
What they eat also has an impact on the environment. There are two ways that eating more fruits and vegetables can teach them to be more eco-friendly.
For one, meat in itself produces more carbon emission than growing crops. In fact, it contributes 20 to 30 percent of greenhouse gases. While you don’t necessarily need to cut off meat entirely, you can encourage them to have a diet that is high in vegetables. These eating habits will go with them well until they are older as long as they have been done properly. Forcing them to eat more vegetables might not work, but making your meals more enticing is the way to go.
When the kid starts to like vegetables more, they will be more concerned about problems that affect the growth of plant life. This preference might even get them interested in gardening and agriculture.
Be careful of eco-anxiety
Even though it is a good idea to instill environmentally-conscious behavior early on, you have to also be careful of eco-anxiety. This is the fear of environmental threats and their impact. Focusing too much on climate change and how it harms nature can make your kids depressed and anxious. They could end up feeling hopeless because they are unable to make enough changes.
It’s important to take a step back in your advocacy sometimes. Informing them of the effects of their actions is important, but you must also try to be more positive about the situation. Let them know that these things can be undone with the right steps and innovations. Make them feel like their actions can have an effect on the outcome, instead of highlighting all the doom and gloom.
The important thing to remember is that these teachings should be done by force. If children feel that they are coerced into certain behaviors, the more that they will go against it when they grow up. Provide them with options and educate them as much as you can without demonizing their every move.