Easy Eco-Conscious Practices to Teach Your Kids
Being more eco-conscious with the way we live is not only better for the environment, but it can also help reduce household bills and expenses. But to really start making a difference with your sustainable choices, you need to get everyone in the house involved—even the kids.
We take a look at some easy eco-conscious practices you can teach your kids so that they grow up making greener choices.
Kids must learn about recycling early on. After that, they'll quickly pick up on the idea of sorting trash.
Explain how waste ends up in landfills where it can take decades to break down. For example, a plastic bottle is estimated to take up to 450 years to degrade. This will help them understand why recycling is so important. Make your recycling bins easily accessible and clearly labeled or color-coded so that it's easy for them to start recycling.
Reuse and repurpose
Alongside recycling, encourage your kids to think about ways in which they can repair, reuse, or repurpose items that they are going to throw out. When they grow out of their clothes and toys, help them collect them and take them to a local charity store. Explain how others will benefit from the items and what the charity can do with the money raised.
When things get broken, help your kids repair them and make them usable again. They'll learn how to be handy and limit additional trash to the landfill. Instead of always replacing items, encourage your kids to value what they have and make it last for as long as possible. And for things that are beyond fixing, there are plenty of fun ways to repurpose household items.
Talk to your kids about ways to reduce the amount of waste they're producing, especially when it comes to things that can't easily be recycled or reused.
For example, encourage them to think carefully when they want something new, whether it's a toy or clothing. Consider how long they'll want it and use it for, the materials it's made from, whether it's replacing something they already have and what will happen to that, or what happens when they don't want it anymore.
Another key area to think about is reducing waste in the kitchen. When your kids are helping out with simple cooking tasks, teach them how to avoid throwing away usable food—using the whole fruit or vegetable you're cooking with, composting the scraps, not buying more than you need, and creative ways to use the leftovers.
Inspire an interest in nature
Getting your kids outside and interested in nature is going to help them realize the importance of being more eco-conscious. This could be as simple as giving them a small patch of your garden or backyard and encouraging them to plant seeds and look after them so that they grow. You can find plenty of kids gardening kits to get them started or choose easy plants such as sunflowers, tomatoes, petunias, and potatoes.
If you find that things don't grow well in your garden, then it could be that the soil needs improving. For example, clay soil is a common issue that means your soil is too hard and doesn't drain properly—using a clay soil conditioner can help break it up so that plants grow more easily. When choosing something like a clay soil conditioner, talk to your kids about the importance of choosing organic products for the garden and how they are better for the environment and the wildlife that comes into your garden.
Buy eco-friendly items
When you're out shopping for groceries or anything for that matter, show your kids which items are more sustainable and how they're different from other options. For example, choose items that aren't in plastic packaging, are produced locally and in season. For non-food products, pick things that are made from recycled materials, biodegradable, or recyclable. Get your kids thinking early on about their choices when buying things, and they'll grow up with an awareness of how their shopping habits can impact the environment.
Involve your kids in saving energy around your home by encouraging them to turn off lights and other electricals that aren't in use. Explain how the lights work and where the energy comes from so they understand why they're turning the lights off and feel like they're contributing. Older children can help you switch out your light bulbs for energy-saving LED light bulbs, which can last five times longer.
These are just a few simple habits you can teach your kids to be more eco-conscious. Of course, the best way for them to learn is by example, so try to make environmentally friendly choices wherever possible and share these with your kids so that they know how to live more sustainably.