Kids, the next generation, the future, the ones who will be taking care of us in our golden years. A lot is resting on our ability to raise a generation of planet protectors but raising eco conscious kids in a world that doesn’t seem very eco conscious can be a daily challenge.
If you have small children, I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself more than once that nothing creates more waste than a kid. Nope, just me? It may seem daunting or nearly impossible but teaching and raising eco conscious kids probably easier than you may think.
13 Easy Things You Can Do to Raise an Eco Conscious Kid
Choose Reusable Products – starting when they are just babies, choose reusable products over single use. Complete transparency, I used disposable diapers when my kids were young.
Cloth diapers were starting to come back into ‘fashion’ (or at least I was starting to hear about them) but I wasn’t very aware of them. Choose a reusable baby wipe like product.
Think of all the ways parents use baby wipes, mostly to wipe faces and hands so something like the Norwex Baby Body Cloth would be my choice. Reusable products run the gamut from cups to eating utensils to bags to straws and beyond.
Get Outside – spend lots of time taking walks, going on hikes, and playing at the park. Talk about what you see in nature and the important role everything plays – birds, squirrels, trees, flowers, clouds, sun, water, ducks, etc.
This will help to teach children from a very young age, how everything works together.
Don’t Litter – this kind of goes without saying but make sure to teach your kids that trash goes in the trash can, unless it’s something that can be recycled. If you have a favorite park or walking trail, bring along an extra bag to pick up litter.
Kids love to play I Spy! A pair of gardening gloves would be great to bring along for this activity.
Plant a Garden – kids love to play in the dirt, take advantage of that and teach them how to grown their own flowers and food. If you’re short on space, pick up a few pots and do some container gardening.
Let your eco conscious kid choose what they’d like to grow. Tomatoes are a great starter plant and best of all, they get to eat something nutritious.
Not only can gardening help children appreciate the environment but it can also:
- encourage them to consume more fruits and veggies;
- burn off energy;
- improve mental health;
- improve physical health;
- boost their brainpower
Compost – while you’re gardening, set up a compost bin. Teach them how things taken from nature can go back into nature.
What kid doesn’t like to watch bugs and discover worms? We have a compost bin in our backyard and it’s fascinating to turn the lump of stuff and see all the bugs moving around.
Read Books, Lots of Books – I don’t think I’ve met any small child who doesn’t love to be read to.
Read lots of books about the environment, trees, where food comes from, animals, recycling, etc.
Go to the Library – make going to the library a weekly activity. Talk about how you are choosing to reuse by borrowing books from the library.
Many libraries have a used book store. When your kids have outgrown any books they own, donate them to the library book store.
Box of Junk – keep a box of paper towel roll tubes, toilet paper tubes, buttons, ribbons, craft supplies, scrap paper, crayons, etc. on hand for those rainy-day activities.
Let their imagination run wild and see what they can create.
Turn it Off – teach them to always turn off lights when they leave a room, turn off the faucet when they are brushing teeth, unplug devices when they aren’t in use.
Reduce Harmful Chemicals – when they get a bit older, teach them how to read product labels and look for harmful ingredients.
Talk about the impact harmful chemicals have on our waterways and marine life.
Donate Used Items – when they are no longer enjoying a toy, teach them the importance of donating it rather than throwing it away.
The same goes for clothes, when they outgrow a piece of clothing, don’t throw it away, donate it (provided it’s still in good condition).
Shop Local – take them to farmer’s markets. Let them meet local farmers and hear about how food is grown, from a professional.
When I was in high school, I worked at a farmers market, it was the absolute best job I’ve ever had.
Teach them to Recycle – teach them how to recycle right. Set up a station of recycling bins in your home or garage so it becomes part of their daily habit.
If your trash hauler takes your recycles, great, if not, take your child to the recycling center with you and let them participate in the process.
Visit the Animals – take them to the zoo, aquarium, marine life center, animal refuge, anywhere there are animals. Teach them to enjoy large creatures and the impact our choices have on these creatures.
Teach them about plastic pollution and how it impacts marine life.
Raise an eco conscious kid Conclusion
We always hear the phrase kids are like sponges. Just like Santa, they are always watching. If you teach them while they are young, this all becomes part of their lifestyle. It’s much easier to form new habits as a kid than to change them as an adult.
I bet you’re already a pro, comment below and let me know what you’re already doing.