Climate change is happening and almost every child in the world will be affected.
Many parents find it difficult to talk to their children about climate change. It is natural to want to protect children from harm and worry. But by the time your child is a certain age, they’re probably already hearing about climate change, whether it’s at school, online, or from their friends.
Not surprisingly, children can feel many emotions related to climate change, such as: B. Fear, anxiety, sadness, and anger, which are natural responses to something as uncertain and devastating as climate change.
While you can’t solve climate change for your child, you can help them discover the facts, know they are not alone, and find ways to take action.
Here are some tips on how to have an honest and hopeful conversation about climate change without ignoring the reality and scale of the problem.
1. Do your homework
No one has all the answers about climate change, and it’s okay if you don’t either. There are many reliable resources available online including lectures, videos and articles that can help you brush up on the science. NASA has some great kid-friendly resources on the subject. Talk to other parents to find out how they are approaching the issue with their children.
Remember, it’s okay if you can’t answer all of your child’s questions—take the opportunity to find answers together.
To start the conversation with your child about climate change, find out what they already know and how they feel about the topic. You will be surprised how much your child already knows and can express. Take the opportunity to hear their fears and hopes for the planet. Give them your full attention and don’t ignore or try to minimize their worries. Let them know that they can always come to you to talk about anything.
3. Use simple science
You know your child best, so make sure the information is appropriate for them. A good starting point can be to find ways to relate climate change to their daily lives and explore the basic facts together. For example: “People burn fossil fuels like coal and oil to power cars, fly airplanes and light homes. These release all the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which form a bubble around the planet and make the climate warmer. A hotter planet means weather changes, like more flooding and more storms. As the planet warms, the polar ice caps melt and sea levels rise. It’s a serious problem, but many scientists and many young people are working hard to find solutions and bring positive change. And there are many things we can do too.”
Pictures, maps and videos can help visualize the topic and make it more tangible. A great resource to explore is Climate Visuals, which has compiled a library of images on the subject, from climate impacts to climate solutions.
4. Go outside!
Try to expose your child to nature as much as possible. Encouraging them to play outside helps foster their enjoyment of and respect for nature.
When you’re outside together, stop and point out points of interest, whether it’s a tree, a cloud, a spider web, or a bird. The simple act of slowing down and taking the time to appreciate nature can help children develop curiosity and wonder about nature. Sow seeds together to see something grow from nothing.
5. Focus on solutions
For every problem you discuss, try to come up with a solution. Explore examples of people working on ways to combat climate change with your child. Discuss positive and inspirational stories you see in the news or in your own community.
Discuss steps you are taking as a family, such as B. Reduce waste in your home, save water, recycle or turn off unused lights and appliances. This helps reinforce the idea that everyone can do something to fight climate change.
Discuss ideas for other actions you can take as a family or community. Could you choose to walk or bike instead of taking a car? could you plant a tree
6. Empower action
Young people around the world are taking climate action into their own hands and to governments’ doorsteps. Others are building new ways to use energy more efficiently, sharing solutions on social media and undertaking weekly climate marches. Let your child know that many young people care about our planet and can do so too. If they show interest, introduce them to climate change activist stories.