How to involve children in the eco journey
Whether you’re an avid environmentalist who wraps food in beeswax wraps, shops with a canvas bag, and recycles everything that passes though your house. Or indeed a busy parent or grandparent looking for some quick and easy eco tips that you can share with the young ones, we’ve got some great ideas that will get children on a greener path in life.
Where do you start?
Fortunately children absorb so much from their surroundings at a young age, much of it shaping the habits, values and beliefs that form the core of who they become. It will therefore come as no surprise that becoming a role model in the eco space is the easiest way to instil the reduce, reuse, and recycle culture in youngsters.
Children are also becoming far more aware of the environment and the impact of climate change given advancements in curriculums now taught in schools. Positively, our actions around sustainability at home will not only support our environment, but will also supplement a growing part of their school education. win win!!
Reinforcing actions with simple facts also goes a long way. Telling children that plastic doesn’t disappear for 1000 years highlights very simply why it’s so important that we reduce, reuse and recycle plastic instead of just putting it into landfill.
5 simple ways to bring children on the eco journey with you
1. Instil respect for the environment
Involve children in activities that support the environment and complement nature. Constructing bird feeders, bug hotels and insect watering holes; or planting pollinator-friendly plants and trees in the garden are really fun ways for children to learn about our environment but also the importance of preserving it.
This is one of our favourites. Encourage children to become recycling monitors. Explain the concept of recycling and how paper, plastic, glass, tins, clothing, food waste, and general household waste can be separated from each other to maximise their reuse - it’s not all rubbish. You’ll be amazed just how immersed children become in the process. They’ll soon be telling you exactly which colour bin your rubbish should be going in.
3. Reusing and charity shops
Most children have more toys than they need, ours are certainly no exception. But when toys fall out of favour, instead of discarding, take them down to the local charity shop to ensure they are put to good use elsewhere. We tend to purchase a lot of our toys from charity shops too. Here’s the compromise though, for every new toy we bring into the house, an old one gets donated back to charity so that someone else gets pleasure from it. No landfill in sight and an enormous sense of wellbeing for the kids.
4. Everyday habits
Teach children about the importance of conserving resources around the home and the impact it has on climate change. Reinforce turning off taps when brushing teeth, switching off lights and televisions when not in use, and closing doors to keep the heat in or out. Doing all of these have a positive impact on carbon emissions, either directly or indirectly.
5. Help out locally
Many of our local communities organise activities to support our environment. From clearing plastic at local beaches, to planting trees and reinforcing wildlife rich verges in nature reserves. Activities like these add a lot of environmental value, but also provide a great setting for the entire family to get involved and bond with a common purpose in mind.