Most people these days know that we ought to take better care of our environment. That doesn’t mean it happens. If you want your family to be more environmentally aware, you have to make the effort to help them. Here are some ideas that may help you get things moving.
Read About It
Start when the kids are young with books such as The Lorax. Encourage them to read other books and read with them as they get older. Talk about what they learn from their reading.
Visit Environmental Websites
There are plenty of environmental websites designed for children. Check some of these out with your kids.
NASA’s For Kids Only Earth Science
EPA’s Environmental Kids Club
BBC Nature Online
Maggie’s Earth Adventures
Teach your children how to conserve things like water, electricity, and other resources. Children can learn about as soon as they can reach the light switch that they should turn off the lights when leaving the room.
Don’t just dispose of things because you’re done with their original purpose. Think of new ways to use them, or consider if they’re still good for more use. Water bottles can be cleaned and refilled, although I prefer stainless steel bottles to disposable ones. Toilet paper tubes can be used in a variety of craft projects for kids. Egg cartons are great also.
Sort trash as appropriate into the recycle bin with your children. Kids don’t have to be very old to understand that most kinds of paper can be recycled, and you can work from there.
Whether you want to grow fruits and vegetables or some other sort of garden, it’s good for kids to learn to care for growing plants. Consider native plants and avoid invasive species as much as possible. Do what you can to avoid harsh pesticides and fertilizers, focusing on organic methods instead.
Teach your children that certain types of food waste don’t have to be thrown out – they can be composted instead, along with appropriate yard waste. They may be impressed when they understand that these scraps become something good for your garden.
You can’t appreciate the environment if you never get out into it. Go camping and hiking as a family. You don’t have to totally rough it, just go and experience nature for yourself.
As your children get older, get them involved in volunteering on projects to help the environment. There’s a wilderness area near me, for example, that has monthly cleanups that children 12 and older can participate in, so long as there’s an adult with them.
Set the Example
If you aren’t being environmentally aware in your own life, it’s not likely the kids will pick it up from you, no matter how you preach it. Be their example, so they know it as a way of life, not just something that gets preached and ignored.