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How to Raise Environmentally Conscious Kids

How awesome is Earth Day?

Exploring nature. Celebrating the wonder of our planet. Getting our hands dirty planting flowers and trees. We love it all.

It goes without saying that teaching young children about Mother Earth can’t be limited to just one day of the year – but it is a great opportunity to focus on lessons about the environment … and, as parents and teachers, to renew our commitment to raising environmentally conscious kids.

Doing so doesn’t have to be overly complicated. As you do your part at home, consider keeping your approach simple by concentrating on three things:

 

  1. Fostering an appreciation of nature.

The natural world is fascinating for children, and helping them explore it – in any way possible – beginning at an early age is a great way to encourage a lifelong appreciation of nature.

Take a walk and discover the interesting things or creatures you can find on the ground, in the trees or in the sky. Get a butterfly garden kit to watch the magic of caterpillars turning into butterflies and learn about lifecycles. Just go outside in the fresh air and play, soak up the sun or catch the breeze. Even enjoying these simple pleasures can go a long way in teaching kids why they need to care about our planet.

 

  1. Educating children about how we use natural resources in our day-to-day lives.

When kids run the water for minutes on end, or run around turning on every light in the house, they don’t know how the clean water gets there or how the light works, only that it does. Pick a few examples, like those above, and explain to kids at a very high level about how clean water, electricity and other things we tend to take for granted are fueled by valuable natural resources. This will not only help them understand how things work but also help them begin to understand how our actions impact the world around us.

 

  1. Being mindful of our impact.

As children become aware that our behaviors affect the environment, build on that understanding to help them think through how their choices – and your choices as a family – may impact Mother Earth. With consistency, being mindful of this will become a habit, and together you’ll be able to identify opportunities – small or large – to be more environmentally friendly.

There are a lot of great ways kids can help with these changes or get more involved with things your family already does. For example, they can be:

  • Recycling helpers who make sure the right materials end up in the right bins
  • Challenged to think of creative ways to upcycle items rather than throwing them out
  • Brainstorming captains on ways to conserve water at home
  • In charge of picking out reusable food storage containers instead of plastic bags for school lunches
  • Responsible for picking out hand-me-down toys and clothing for other kids to enjoy

 

Whatever it is that works for you, making your child aware and getting them involved is what’s most important. Doing something even relatively small today can be the start of their good stewardship of the environment tomorrow.

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