By: Guest Contributor, Kimberly Grimms
Every person who lives on this planet impacts the environment in some big or small way, no matter how young or old he or she is. This is why it is never too early to teach your children to start being eco-friendly. In a world where young ones live and learn by example, it is important for us adults to be responsible role models who are always ready to guide them in making wise and environmentally sound decisions. After all, their future—more than anything—depends on how well we take care of our environment today.
Raising your child’s awareness on the importance of being eco-friendly can be done through simple day-to-day activities. In this article, we have listed a few things you can do to effectively introduce them to nature, practice green living, and encourage them to be more eco-friendly in all their ways.
1. Experience Mother Nature
Photo courtesy of shin–k via Flickr, Creative Commons
Exposing your kids to the wonders of nature is one of the first things you must do for them while they’re young. According to the National Wildlife Federation, the amount of time kids spend outside today is alarmingly low compared to the long hours spent on television and other gadgets. Letting children see the beauty of our natural resources in parks, wildlife refuges, and other nature spots will open their eyes to the importance of preserving the natural state of the environment, and help them make wise choices when it comes to matters that can potentially impact our ecosystems. You can even build a nature-like playground in your own backyard, so that your kids can engage in nature play during their free time.
2. Start at Home
Photo courtesy of Rasheed Sidiqui via Flickr, Creative Commons
Establishing eco-friendly habits at home is a great foundation for a sustainable lifestyle. The earlier your kids develop these habits, the better. Some basic things you could remind them to do is to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth, unplugging devices that are not in use, and throwing their trash in the proper places. These little things go a long way in saving our environment.
3. Volunteer with the Whole Family
Photo courtesy of Dipesh Pabari via Flickr, Creative Commons
Bring your kids closer to nature. Encourage your kids to participate in nature-friendly activities that are fun and beneficial to the community. Go to eco-tourism spots and volunteer to help in nature projects such as tree planting and recycling. Being able to actively contribute this way will help your kids be more environmentally conscious in all their future volunteer work.
4. Shop Together
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr, Creative Commons
Your commitment to saving the environment is greatly measured by the kind of products you choose to buy. While they’re still young, train your kids to choose organically grown food rather than the processed counterpart. Also, teach them to avoid products that contain harmful and toxic chemicals that may harm the environment. This way, they’ll know which products to buy as soon as they’re old enough to shop by themselves.
5. Have Eco-friendly Art Sessions
Photo courtesy of Ruth Madeleine via Flickr, Creative Commons
Kids love making things out of scraps of paper and coloring materials. Take this opportunity to teach them how to recycle used objects or turn them into beautiful pieces of art and other useful materials! Have this Do-It-Yourself art session regularly to make your kids more creative when in comes to recycling.
6. Visit Eco-Friendly Websites for Kids
There are a lot of eco-friendly websites today that are especially made for kids. Most of these websites contain fun environmental facts and eco-games that you and your kids can enjoy playing together. Engaging in these kinds of activities will enhance your kids’ knowledge about the environment, as well as how to take care of it.
Being eco-friendly is not just something you do from time to time. It is a habit—even a way of life. That being said, it is important to remind your children to make eco-friendly choices in everything that they do—be it at home, in school, or in the playground. They must always make decisions that are grounded on the safety of our environment.
If children are taught about these eco-friendly habits while they’re still young, being environmentally conscious will come naturally to them as they grow into responsible earth-friendly individuals.
Kimberly Grimms is a futurist who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search for new consumer trends. Connect with her on Twitter @kimberlygrimms