If you have kids, you probably try to teach them countless things during a typical day, often by setting a good example. Your kids could learn how to share their things with other children, why it’s important to show kindness, and how to deal with disappointment without lashing out at others. It’s also crucial to help your youngsters understand how and why to cherish the planet.
Fortunately, it’s easy to teach them about the environment without making substantial changes in the way you live. Getting started means emphasizing how important it is to be intentional with one’s actions.
Always Throw Your Litter Away Responsibly
Have you ever gone to a park or another natural area and felt dismayed by the sight of litter on the ground? Although you don’t need to go as far as picking litter up that’s not yours and disposing of it, make sure you never leave litter outside. For example, if you’re walking on a path at the park and notice that a candy wrapper flies out of your open bag, don’t just ignore the issue. Make an honest attempt to retrieve the litter and throw it away.
Also, if you have a picnic or go camping, strive to follow the “leave no trace” principle and make sure there are no signs of your presence when you leave. It’s also necessary to do that during winter trips, especially if the places where you might ordinarily dispose of things, such as public restrooms at campgrounds, aren’t open.
If kids see you being careless with litter, they’ll probably follow suit. In contrast, when they see you throwing things away properly instead of leaving trash on the ground, they’ll realize that’s the right thing to do, and it’s something that helps the planet. Don’t forget to talk about how litter can have negative effects on the wildlife population.
Teach Kids to Admire Without Disturbing
Some humans have an innate urge to disrupt wildlife by picking flowers or trying to pet and feed native creatures. Wildflowers support larger ecosystems and picking them could adversely affect things like bees. And, animals could bite humans out of fear. Think about explaining to kids that when they walk through natural environments, it is as if they are coming into the homes of the creatures that live there.
Most kids wouldn’t like it if a relative or stranger came into their rooms and started messing everything up, so they should probably be able to connect the two scenarios and realize why it’s so important to enjoy nature without being a potentially destructive presence. Consider suggesting that they could take a picture of flowers instead of picking them, too.
Emphasize the Need to Conserve Resources
Most kids in developed countries don’t automatically understand how lucky they are to have immediate access to things like water and electricity. However, you can broaden their viewpoints by discussing how the Earth does not have infinite resources and it’s necessary to stop wasting what is available.
Also, think about bringing up initiatives like the Cadiz Water Project, which relates to water supplies in Southern California, to drive home the point that resource conservation is not only necessary in far-flung places. Empower kids by showing them that they can stop wasting water by turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth, for example.
If your home has a smart thermostat or other gadgets that track energy usage, make a family plan to reduce the average per-month amount. Then, explain how being mindful of resource usage at home has a larger effect on the whole planet.
These tips should remind you that it’s not difficult to help your kids appreciate our planet. In many cases, you can give them a love for the Earth by demonstrating how small, conscious decisions make big, lasting differences.