A new generation of parents are recognising the importance of getting kids interested in taking care of the planet from the get-go. The key? Making green living a way of family life. Little ones model their behaviour on what they see their parents do, so it can make a big impact if you explain the reasons why you recycle or use a canvas shopper instead of a plastic one. Frugi‘s Head Designer Jeni shares some easy ways to help raise environmentally-aware children…
Teach a Respect For Nature and the Outdoors
Nurturing a respect for our planet starts with an appreciation of the great outdoors. If you have a garden, section off a little area where your little ones can plant seeds and give them the responsibility of watering it and tending to it. Trips to woodlands, parks, and coastlines where minis can observe animals in their natural habitats can make a lasting impression too. Explain why it’s so important for us to protect wildlife and what we can do. Organising an activity such as picking up rubbish together on the beach can be a great springboard for big discussions about looking after the environment.
Choose Green Alternatives Together
Opt for eco-friendly products where you can and explain why they are better choices to your little ones. For example, instead of packing their lunch in tin foil or cling film, try a reusable food wrap. Explain how wooden toys will eventually biodegrade, but plastic ones will not. And when you pick out clothes together, look for brands that follow sustainable practices. Children grow out of their clothes very quickly, so the fashion industry for little ones can be quite polluting.
Get Kids Involved in Eco Practices at Home
There are lots of green changes we can make in our homes and it’s important to explain to little ones we are making them. Make it into a fun activity by finding out some interesting facts together about saving energy and then thinking up some ways that you could put these into action in your day-to-day routine. What about turning off the tap when they brush their teeth, making sure they turn out the lights when they leave a room, or running a shallower bath before bedtime? Get them involved in sorting out the recycling too – rinsing out the containers and putting everything into the correct bins. Starting them off early with these things sets them up to make greener choices throughout their lives.
Walk, Scoot, or Ride
If your little one can walk, scoot or ride a bike to school or to a friend’s house, encourage them. Find out why car emissions are so bad for the environment together and make a plan for what you can do to cut down on unnecessary trips. For example, what about organising a walking bus to school with friends who live nearby? Minimising time in the car is not only better for the planet, but also better for their health and can be fun too.
Pass It On
Ask your little ones to gather up the toys they don’t play with anymore, the clothes they have grown out of and the books they don’t read. One option is to choose a local children’s charity together to donate these to and get your minis involved in dropping everything off so they can see the important work that they do. However, donating to your local charity shop isn’t always the answer as they are often so overwhelmed that they are being forced into the role of unofficial waste management. This is where choosing items that are made to last comes in. If we make smarter choices with the items we buy, they will last longer and we can pass them down to younger siblings, cousins or friends. Make sure you explain to your little ones why it’s so important to look after your clothes and belongings, and nurture a sense of pride in passing things on.