More than anything, children learn how to act in society from their parents. There are a number of small and easy ways you can adjust your lifestyle in a way that will inspire your children to live a green and sustainable lifestyle. Something as small as picking up a piece of litter and placing it in the correct bin can have a profound effect on the way children see the world and their place in it.
- Encourage an active lifestyle
By regularly going on walks, bike rides and participating in other activities with your children, not only are you helping them to remain healthy, but you teach them that there are alternatives to driving. When children enjoy an active lifestyle, they are less likely to make unnecessary contributions to their carbon footprint. When they’re outdoors, they will see more of the world around them, fostering a healthy respect for nature and a willingness to help the environment.
- Use public transport
If you can’t walk to an appointment, try taking public transport instead of the car. Once more, it reduces your carbon footprint and teaches children there are alternatives to cars. When you’re taking public transport, you may wish to explain to younger children why this is an important choice to make and why you have made it. By engaging them with these issues and allowing them to form opinions on it, you can encourage them to be more ecologically friendly.
- Ask them to help out
Younger children love helping out, so you can take advantage of this by getting them to help you with your compost heap or recycling and use it as an educational opportunity, as well as making it fun. Older children can take responsibility for helping with other household tasks, such as organising the recycling independently. By making these tasks a fun opportunity, or offering a reward or allowance at the end of it, you can minimise a lack of enthusiasm.
- Teach them where their food comes from
By taking children to farms where you can pick your own vegetables, you can teach them the essential facts about ecosystems and the importance of the environment. Similarly, introducing your children to farm animals and explaining where meat comes from will give them a new respect for meat and the way the meat industry affects the planet.
- Choose toys wisely
Well-made, durable toys will last longer than cheap, ecologically damaging toys. Whenever gift season arises, talk to your friends and family about green alternatives to excessive toys. Once your child has outgrown a toy, encourage them to donate it as a way to both save the planet and help others.
- Explain energy efficiency
By having rules such as turning off the water whilst they brush their teeth and always turning off the lights when they’re not using a room, explaining why and expecting them to follow those rule, children will start to understand the importance of energy conservation. You can reinforce this even further by offering rewards when they follow your green rules.