The media and facts surrounding climate change can be very daunting and a lot of people want to hide that from children. Whether you are a parent, guardian, carer, an older sibling, Aunt, Uncle or Grandparent, we all want to keep children away from anything that may harm or upset them. But teaching children about sustainability doesn’t have to be stressful.
When it comes to children, baby steps are the way forward. Below are some of our top tips to help your child to begin helping the planet:
Personally, I think this is a pretty easy one, as most people are already doing some form of recycling at home. Children are sponges and whatever they watch you do the chances are that they will remember and copy it. When you are recycling and sorting your rubbish into the correct bins include your child. You could even turn it into a game.
Most children like to be outside playing in mud. Use this curiosity to help them to grow their own fruit and vegetables. Invest in their own watering can, to give them the responsibility to water the plants themselves. Keep a log of what you have planted and how they are growing.
This will teach them early on to take pride in growing their own food. It will help them to appreciate how much effort goes into growing their food, and it may help picky eaters try new things if they have grown it themselves.
Animals are a huge part of our planet, and we must all do our best to protect them. Maybe consider adopting a pet, it doesn’t have to be a cat or a dog, it could be something small like a rabbit or a hamster. If you or your child has allergies maybe opt for a tortoise or a goldfish.
If space is an issue, try going to trips to zoos and farms, this will also allow your child to see animal species they wouldn’t normally see.
You could also watch nature documentaries which will show you and your child the animals in their own natural habitat. Also, who doesn’t love David Attenborough?
4. Get creative
Make things out of materials you would throw away and recycle. Every child loves rocking out with a homemade guitar made from an old cereal box, a toilet tube and some rubber bands.
What you can make is endless, whilst stopping rubbish from going to landfill, and it also allows your child to get creative.
5. Go outside
If the weather is nice go for a picnic in the park, go on a bike ride (which also reduces your carbon emissions as you are not in the car), go for a walk, go camping or just let them play in the garden.
If its raining, put on your wellies and go and stomp in puddles. Go to the park and watch the ducks, as they love the rain.
Teach them that littering is wrong and make sure you point out to them where the bins are in your local park or wherever you like to walk. This will teach them to respect their surroundings and protect the environment.
Fresh air is great for both you and your child’s wellbeing and mental health and it will help them to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.
6. Get involved
There will be lots of different ways that you and your child can get involved in your local community. Whether its through planting trees or going to a toy swap.
Kids can also join groups such as Scouts, who now take on children as young as four, and they will teach them sustainable skills they will use throughout their lives.