Teaching kids to love and care for the environment
Considering recent world events, the conditions of our environment have taken a back seat in the media. But as moms, we are ever aware of all the things that our kids will have to think about in the future. Which brings me to the topic of our environment. I mean, what is our world going to look like when our school-aged kids are grown? Will they see worsening of storms, floods, and temperature fluctuations? Will they see more wildlife species becoming endangered?
These are worries that keep me up at night, and I’ve always been a girl who wanted to do more to save the Earth. So, how can we help our kids learn to love the Earth, be less wasteful, and teach them to do things that protect our planet on a daily basis?
Here’s what YOU – as a parent – can do:
- Teach Mindfulness. Let’s face it, kids are all over the place. They play with a toy for five minutes, throw it on the floor, and it’s onto the next. As a mom who likes to keep a tidy house, it is a never-ending battle to get them to pick up after themselves, and I find myself reminding them a million times a day to do it. So it goes with the environment. A good way to get the notion into their heads is to show them ways to just be mindful of their surroundings, and ways they can be kind – and prevent harm – to the world around them.
- Model Good Behavior. As much as kids resist the things us parents tell them to do, “the apples usually do not fall far from the trees,” as they say. It’s because we’re usually to a high degree a product of our environments. So, when you leave a room, turn off the light and tell the kids why. When you put something into the recycling bin, tell them why – and see if you can’t put more items into the recycling bin each week! It makes me really happy when I see that the recycling bin is fuller than the trash bin!
- Help Them Explore Nature and Find Their True Interests. With so many aspects to “nature,” there’s a really good chance that your child can find at least one thing he or she will relate to. My oldest, for example, is obsessed with sea life. He’s so into it that he chooses books on the subject; he finds YouTube videos on the subject; and he’s really concerned when he hears about unnecessary commercial fishing, or waterway pollutants. He has a soft spot for these creatures, and we try to foster his love of these animals and share ways that we, as a society, can protect them.
Here’s what your KIDS can do:
So, what are some specific things your kiddos can do each and every day to help keep our beautiful Earth healthy and bright?
- To Save Water: They can turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth.
- To Save Electricity: They can shut off the lights and/or ceiling fans in their rooms when they leave in the morning.
- To Recycle: They can put bottles, cans, and other recyclables into the recycling bin.
- To Get Involved: They can join local or online community environmental groups and challenges to help spread positive information and actively make a difference. One really cool organization is Kids for Saving Earth: This organization was actually started by an 11-year-old! Tragically, he passed away from a brain tumor – but his parents have kept the organization growing and growing. They maintain a beautiful, fun, and educational website and an organization that allows kids to really get involved, from all over the country.
- To Learn More: They can read books! Some amazing books about learning to love and protect the Earth are:
- What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet – by Jess French
- The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems – by Rachel Ignotofsky
- Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and A Hundred Sea Turtles – by Philippe Cousteau
Give your kids their ah-HA moment
Our children are literally our future. Make learning about our environment – and getting involved in its protection – a part of your daily routine. Their young minds, and our world, will certainly benefit.