Our kids learn about sustainable living from the activity classes in their schools with the DIY techniques of making pen holders out of plastic bottles. Although these activities are helpful in making our kids aware of sustainable living, it’s not enough to make them follow these habits in the long run. It is important for parents to talk to kids about climate change and global warming and make a few changes around the house to help children follow these habits.
When we start doing things differently around the house, such as recycling, composting, using non-toxic cleaners, etc, our kids pick up from these activities. When we explain to them about making those choices, they will understand the impact that human activities can have over nature and the future of our planet. This can help in the overall development of a child’s character and will also help in encouraging conscious consumerism which will come in handy in the future.
So here are a few ways you can teach your kids about sustainable living:
1) Opt for eco-friendly toys
Let’s start with the basic things. Every one of us remembers playing with plastic toys when we were young. They generally end up being thrown away. That’s why we need to choose toys wisely. A recent story about a bird with plastic toys in its stomach in the Pacific Ocean was released on the internet and it became viral. We need to make kids aware of the consequences of buying plastic and it all starts by teaching our kids not to buy plastic toys. Clay and wooden toys are great replacements for the plastic toys as they are biodegradable and will help in reducing the carbon footprint.
- Understanding the carbon footprint
Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community. We should keep our kids informed about the life cycle of things, how everything is grown or mined and how everything eventually decomposes. Plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills and plastic bags, bottles, etc take almost 500 years. The carbon footprint of manufacturing this plastic can adversely impact people, animals, plants, water, and ecosystem.
Compost is a soil conditioner made from waste organic matter that has been decomposed by the natural reactions. Composting is one of the first things taught to us in our environmental studies class growing up. It helps in enriching the soil with nutrients, retain moisture in the soil, produces bacteria that can help the soil, etc. It also helps in reducing methane emissions and lower the carbon footprint. This is cool stuff and kids are probably going to love it when you grow a herb garden using compost that you and your kids made from scratch. You can even add worms to make it more interesting for kids and effective for the composting process.
- Walk and cycle with your kids
It is difficult these days to take some time out for our kids but it’s important that we do. Take them out for a walk, a bike ride or a small errand like buying groceries etc and do it on cycles. Do a vertical marathon (a.ka. take the stairs) with your kids, instead of the elevator. Kids learn by example so they’ll learn sustainable living from us.
Recycling is an integral part of sustainable living and we need to teach our kids about different ways of recycling stuff around the house to make them understand its importance. Let your kids be in charge of the waste management system in your house. Let them decide what things are supposed to be thrown away in the trash and what can be recycled. It’s a fun activity and kids get excited when fun activities come with responsibilities.
Take time out from your busy schedule and spend it with your kids. Teach them about small things that can help them develop the love for nature, like, taking a walk on the grass barefoot, hug the trees and sailing paper boat in rain. Help them learn about sustainable living and give a thought about what kind of world will you leave behind for them.