Ways to teach children to be more eco-conscious
There are many ways you can introduce your children to a more eco-conscious mindset. It can sound quite daunting and complicated but the best thing you can do to start is lead by example.
Our 6 top tips:
Spend time outdoors
Before you can push to inspire your little ones to care about the environment, you have to let them really experience nature and fall in love with it. Walks in the woods, along the beach or across local downs are fantastic. The fresh air is great for you and being amongst nature has so many benefits! Let your little ones play and run about, Don't worry about getting them muddy - nothing a bath won't fix!
Do your research and pick wild berries and mushrooms; your kids will love this!
Nurture a love for animals
If they're a fan of animals they are more likely to have an interest in protecting them and their homes. We find that talking to kids about the environment works better when you take an animal angle. Explaining how landfills are bad for wildlife is more effective than explaining water pollution and greenhouse gasses to a 4-year-old!
You can nurture a love for animals by introducing them to new animals frequently. A trip to a local wildlife reserve or zoo works perfectly; but if you have the time, and patience, then a walk in the woods looking out for wildlife works even better. This gives them a chance to explore!
If you have pets, some one on one time could do just the trick too!
Side Note: At the moment you can go and feed/cuddle the lambs at local farms.
For years parents have been shouting at kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room, so why not take it a step further? Take a moment to explain why we have to turn the TV off at the wall and why we turn the tap off when we brush our teeth. Here are a couple facts to get you started:
Fact 1: A hot water faucet that leaks one drop per second can add up to 165 gallons a month.
Fact 2: If everyone boiled only the water they needed every time they used the kettle, we could save enough electricity in a year to power the UK's street lights for nearly seven months.(Energy Saving Trust)
Fact 3: A single light left on overnight over a year accounts for as much greenhouse gas as a car drive from Cambridge to Paris
Look at Meetup and Eventbrite, or just Google, to see if there are any eco/nature focused events near you. If you live near the coast there's bound to be a beach clean! If you can't find anything, why not be the one to organise an event? Get the kids involved and locals to help.
Segment your bins inside the house and explain to little ones why we separate plastic, paper and glass. Find examples online of items made from recycled materials, or even better, show them a video of the process.
Our Green Toys video simplifies the process so it's easy to understand for young minds.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyxBFO85NEM[/embed]
Teaching children where food comes from is an important lesson, and probably one of the most fun to teach!
Head to the garden centre and buy some seeds with the help of the children. Pick something colourful and maybe some that produce fruit/veg. Once you have your seeds, you can head out into the garden and teach them the basics. Explain to them that they should water it every day, and discuss the germination process, remembering to keep it light-hearted to avoid boredom!In a couple weeks time they'll be able to see the flowers or produce and will feel super-proud of what they have created!
Buy or make a bird table and get children to pop some bread or waste food on it each day. Make it their responsibility to fill the birdbath, they'll love having something of their own to do each day!
As with teaching anything to young children, repetition is vital. Make sure you implement simple changes every day and explain each time why you're doing it, in a fun and engaging way. Small changes can be as easy as taking canvas and fabric bags to the supermarket to avoid plastic. Taking your own water bottles out and ditching single-use drinks bottles is a fantastic starting point!
Don't worry if you slip up now and then, we've all forgotten our bags for a supermarket trip!