Instilling in our child a love for our natural world and a desire to protect our planet begins at home, and as parents we need to take responsibility for this. As the urgency to make immediate and lasting changes, that will help save our planet, has intensified, for many parents our thoughts have moved to our children. We have realised that the major effects will not be felt by us, but by them and they need to be both prepared for a changing world, and aware of how their choices and behaviour impact our planet. But the idea of raising eco-conscious children can be daunting…
To help you on your eco-parenting journey, here are five actions you can take today to raise the eco-conscious adults of tomorrow:
1. Include your kids in your day-to-day eco-decision making. Cutting out single-use plastic? Then sit with them and explain why you don’t use single-use straws anymore, or why their sandwiches no longer come wrapped in cling wrap.
2. Make composting and recycling part of their daily chores. Create a fun time of the day when your kids help to sort the recycling or go with you to tip the veggies into the compost heap.
3. Plant veggies and herbs. This is a wonderful way to show children how you can grow your own food sustainably at home. For most children planting a seed and watching it grow into something that they can eat is mind-blowing and an incredible lesson in eco-living. Don’t have a garden? Grow herbs in your kitchen – there is something magical about a windowsill full of fragrant herbs.
4. Get outside. Spend time with your children in the great outdoors. Be it on a mountain or in your local park. There is no greater way to instil in them a love for the natural world, and in turn a desire to conserving it, than by spending hours immersed in it.
5. Lead by example. Children learn from their parents, and your actions will play the greatest role in changing their eco-behaviour. Make going green a family affair and before you know it, big changes that seem hard, will soon be a normal part of your eco-conscious lifestyle.
The changes we make today may not have a huge impact on the world we are seeing right now, but every eco-friendly choice is securing the health of our planet for future generations. It then stands to reason that we should be educating our children about their choices, as well as ensuring that the decision we make on their behalf (what products to use, what toys to buy them) are good for them AND good for the planet.