Growing up Green: The Importance of Teaching Children About Sustainability
In a world that is becoming more and more conscientious about the need to take care of our planet, we want to try and pass down the tools we are learning to our children. Think about the fact that your child will soon be the decision makers, consumers, and educators of the next generation. What do you want them to do to improve our planet? Instilling the fundamentals of sustainability is essential, but acting on it is a different story. So how do we gradually teach our children about sustainability without overwhelming them with information? Here are a few tips on how to get them started.
Lead by Example
Simply telling children to recycle as you toss a gum wrapper on the ground isn’t effective. Show your children the importance of recycling by recycling yourself and implementing it into your home. Teach them the importance of taking care of things in your home by getting routine maintenance, instead of having to replace things every few years. Showing your children that you care about the value of the items in your home and controlling your waste will instill in them the values that they will share with their family.
Show Them How It Works
Understanding how sustainability works is just as important as performing the tasks. For example, getting solar panels installed in your home can be a great way to be more energy efficient in your home and also saving money on your bill. What’s more? This can be a teaching moment for your family. Explain to your children how the solar panels harness the energy from the sun to power your entire home, instead of using less sustainable options.
Give Them Sustainable Chores
Try teaching your children the meaning of composting and how it works, or explain to them how to reduce energy usage, and then give them chores that implement what you just taught them. For example, tell your children that in order to reduce energy, turn off electronics that aren’t in use. Task your children with more chores as they learn, such as taking items to be recycled, donating items instead of throwing them out, or composting the waste you’ve accumulated. By creating routines that incorporate tasks that take care of our planet, we are instilling sustainable habits that they will keep with them.
Purchase Environmentally Friendly Products
The easiest way to teach your family sustainability is to only buy environmentally friendly products and show your children how those products are more sustainable. This not only shows them the value of sustainability, but it also shows them how easy it can be and where to find these products when they get older and start doing the shopping for you. This may be a little advanced for some of the children in your home, but try creating an afternoon experiment with your family to teach them about the difference in the chemicals in each of the items and how some items are more environmentally friendly than others.
Guest Blog by Paige A Mitchell