Creating global change doesn’t happen with just one person; it must involve everyone. In order to involve more people in efforts to protect the environment, it is important to involve younger generations in the effort. By encouraging environmental concern and sustainable habits from an early age, parents can raise their children to be more environmentally conscious. Although schools teach a little about sustainability, the real work starts much earlier at home.
By developing good habits like recycling when they are young, children are more likely to stick with those habits as they get older. Younger generations are already becoming more conscious consumers, and teaching environmental values at a young age will help. Encouraging an interest in nature will allow them to appreciate what they love about the environment. Children are our future, so it’s important to educate them about environmental issues so they can continue to work together to make change happen.
Establish good habits
It’s much easier to get kids into a habit than it is to teach them a new habit as they get older. Although some green living habits don’t come into play until a child grows older, there are many habits they can learn and observe from their parents. Teach them about recycling and which items go in which bins. Teach them to throw out trash, turn off the lights, and turn off the water when brushing their teeth. If you use reusable bags for shopping, they will interpret this as a normal way of shopping and will do more of the same thing as an adult.
In your child’s early years, try to focus on social-emotional learning to help them adopt a conscientious mindset. In the words of Kindercare’s childcare experts, “The vast majority of brain development takes place between the ages of zero and three years – the perfect time for children to start building the positive social-emotional skills they need.” Focus during these formative ones Years spent teaching them fundamental skills needed for critical thinking, social interactions and creativity. Later in life, these skills will enable them to analyze environmental problems, pass those ideas on to their peers, and ultimately find solutions.
There are also many online tools that can help explain some of the more complex ideas behind environmental issues as your child gets older. As they get older and start asking more questions about the habits you’re teaching them, these tools can help answer some of their questions in a way your kids can understand.
Education of environmentally conscious consumers
Becoming environmentally conscious from a consumer perspective was something learned for many adults. Paying attention to one’s own role as a consumer and its impact on the environment was hardly an issue for the older generations. Today, however, parents can change that for their children. That means focusing on recycled items, buying sustainably sourced food, finding energy efficient appliances and using biodegradable cleaning products. Even a few sustainable choices have a big impact, and children tend to mimic these purchasing decisions as adults.
Being an environmentally conscious consumer is about more than what you buy; it is who you buy from. The evolution of sustainability from government initiatives on social change and business leaders making sustainable products has been happening for decades. However, many companies still operate with no regard for the environment. Teaching your children to research their purchases and give their money to companies that value environmental issues will help them continue the practice as they grow older.
Encouraging interest in nature
It’s easier for people to take care of an issue when it’s close to them. An emotional involvement in an issue is hard to break, so encouraging an interest in nature can help your child’s future interest in environmental issues. Lead by example and offer them activities. Take them on walks, hikes and trips to the lake or the sea. Allow them to climb trees, spot bugs, and admire wildlife. Encourage their interest and questions and encourage their appreciation. By providing them with more outdoor experiences, they will begin to associate their surroundings with interest and happiness.
Love for nature will not only help them to create an emotional connection to environmental issues, but also to be even more sustainable. As they get older, they may become more interested in walking or cycling than driving. You can take up more outdoor hobbies like gardening. In addition, nature encourages us to move more and stay healthier overall.
Children are the future
Each generation must be better than the previous one. Children need to learn to protect their environment, be kind to one another, and make choices that benefit the world at large. Environmental education and conservation has been a public virtue since the 19th century, but in recent decades it has been a hotly debated issue, linked to political interests and financial gain rather than science. It is all the more important to teach the children about the environment and sustainability at home. Without action, the environment will suffer – and each generation with it.
Nobody needs to be perfect to teach kids about the environment. Every small, sustainable change has an effect. It’s one less piece of plastic in a landfill, one less sea creature at risk, or one less dollar spent on oil. Teaching children that they can make a difference will help raise a generation of adults who are more conscious and environmentally conscious than the generation before them.
It is important to teach your children about the environment from a young age as these teachings will become their normal. The environmental habits they learn, the green consumer choices they see, and the time they spend learning to love and appreciate nature will shape them into the future of environmental sustainability.