Family & Social Child Developement
How to Raise an Eco-Conscious Child
If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, raising an eco-conscious child in this generation is no mean task. We find ourselves engulfed in a world driven by consumerism, materialism and fast fashion, all of which negatively impact our environment. The hardest part of making our children eco-conscious might just be modelling it ourselves. Being eco-friendly in our choices is definitely going to require a lot of effort on our part, supplemented by conscious decisions and informed choices. But being eco-conscious is important now, more than ever. Climate changes, depletion of resources, global warming, deforestation and increased carbon footprint are leaving our beloved earth exhausted and moving to a crisis, sooner than expected. Great help at this time, is that there is more awareness about being eco-conscious and also more availability of earth-friendly products. Changing our lifestyle and preferences overnight is a herculean task. Therefore, as with all habits and change, we must begin with two core principles, to start small and to start with yourself.
Some Ideas To Get You Started
1.Help them Recycle and Reuse.
Let’s start with what kids can actually help with. Reusing seems to have become less popular these days. With online shopping becoming increasingly popular and one-day deliveries promised, even slightly old, outgrown items are quickly replaced. But think again, how we can change that? Hand-me-downs seem almost a forgotten part of our children’s lives. A generation ago, it was the norm. Let’s bring that back into fashion. Reusing items not only saves money but is great for our planet.
2.Spend time outdoors:
Apart from the various benefits of play and exercise that being outdoors can give us, spending time in nature is one of the best ways to get instil love and care for our planet. If you observe children closely, you will notice they naturally love the outdoors. Keep it that way and don’t rush to introduce gadgets and screens and reduce their time outside. Let them explore nature, the more they know it, the more they’ll want to protect it.
3.Grow a garden:
It seems ideal to have your own vegetable patch and a herb garden, but you may not have space or face other constraints. So start small if you must, but make the introduction at the earliest. Children will love watching a seed turn into a sapling and bear fruit. They can learn responsibility and so much more from caring for the plant.
4.Be energy-aware at all times:
Start these habits young, they are more likely to stick with them as they grow older.
5.Make use of media:
Let’s face it. Our kids learn and listen better from watching shows on TV and reading their favourite books. So if we want them to care about our planet. In other words, we don’t need to offer lengthy explanations about saving our planet. Wall-E can. Even better they’ll believe him more.
Now, that you have some ideas, to begin with, here are some ways you can implement them. We’ve given this list a lot of thought because we know the challenges parents and children face in making changes to being eco-conscious. We’ve kept this practical, simple but definitely effective in helping our earth heal.
24 tips to raise an Eco-Conscious Child.
1.Get kids to sort out toys, clothes and books they’ve outgrown. These can be passed on to other children, within the family or to children in need.
2.If you know families with kids of similar ages, suggest a regular toy and book swap policy. This way you don’t need to buy new items to keep your children’s interest plus you are actively reusing. Win-win.
3.When you are looking to buy them books, look for second-hand copies. Plenty of those are available now in bookstores and even online.
4.How about reusing gift wrapping paper to make craft, or newspaper to make bags, cardboard boxes for children to make a dollhouse.
5.To help them recycle, teach them how to segregate waste. A lot of paper waste can be recycled. Old notebooks, colouring books, packing paper etc.
6.Teach them to respect nature too.
7.Get kids to collect their extra school supplies at the end of the year that can be donated to children in need.
8.Embrace their curiosity. Let them observe worms and butterflies, bees and ants, snails climbing paths and observe sounds of different birds.
9.Try putting a bird feeder in your balcony that kids can clean and maintain regularly.
10.Be prepared to hear plenty of questions and be encouraging. Google the answers when you need to and let your kids learn plenty about nature and its creatures.
11.Teach them to respect nature too.
12.Try your luck with growing a few plants in your balcony. Mint, tomatoes, spinach, coriander are great to start with.
13.Let your child spray water their plants. It doubles us as taking responsibility while being a fun activity for your child.
14.At mealtimes, encourage your child to serve themselves and to finish what’s on their plate. It’ll take a few attempts, but let them try. Food shortage and wastage aren’t given enough thought.
15.Set up a compost kit for your vegetable waste to show kids how it can be converted into manure.
16. Plant a tree to celebrate a special occasion like their birthday. What a lovely memory that’ll grow with them as the years pass by.
17.Talking of celebrations, how about gifting your guests, plants as takeaways.
18.Show your kids how to turn trash into treasure. Using glass bottles as planters or making wind chimes with used cans. Get creative, think old school and you’ll do a great job.
19.Remind them to turn off lights and fans when they leave a room.
20.To not let the water run when they are brushing their teeth.
21.To half flush when they use the loo to pee and the big flush when they poo.
22.Encourage them to make use of natural light in the house, during the day. Make it a habit to draw the curtains to let the light in.
23.Show them movies, shows and documentaries that are based on taking care of our planet. Bambi, Happy Feet, Artic Tale, Ice Age, The Meltdown, The Lion King, Free Willy are enjoyable family movies that carry a green theme.
24.Read books that talk about caring for the earth. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, The Lorax by Dr Seuss, We Planted A Tree by Diane Muldrow, Don’t Let Them Disappear by Chelsea Clinton, Penguins Don’t Wear Sweaters by Marrika Tamura, Here We Are By Oliver Jeffers are some of the many wonderful books written in this genre.
We hope these tips have given you a start. Rest assured, no change is too small, no effort meaningless. Every little step matters Start with what you can but start today. We’ve enjoyed this beautiful planet, let’s make sure, our children and the generations to come can enjoy it just as much. As Michael Jackson sang “ Heal the world we live in, save it for our children”.
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