How to Help Your Children Learn to Live Sustainably
Setting an example for your children is one of the easiest, and most effective, ways to help your children learn to live sustainably. Kids watch what their parents do. They see how you behave. If you throw things away, rather than recycling or repurposing, they will begin to do the same. If you drive more than walk, they will soon ask to be driven places instead of considering walking there. When you waste food, instead of saving it or making it into a new dish, they notice. Teaching your kids to live sustainably starts with you.
Here are some simple ways you can help educate your children and teach them to live sustainably:
You don’t have to buy everything new, nor do you need to buy just to buy. In this day and age, many kids are raised to believe they need to have the latest and greatest everything. Why? Well, because that’s what society has engrained in our heads. If you have to rush out and buy the latest iPhone, you are setting an example for your kids. It’s a not good example, either.
If you want to raise environmentally-responsible children, let them know it’s okay to not have to buy the newest version of something. You don’t need a new car every few years. Rushing out to buy the latest clothing trend isn’t necessary.
Take buying just to buy out of the equation. Teach them once they have something, they should use it until it wears out or can no longer be repaired, repurposed or reused. Educate them on buying quality vs. quantity so their clothes last.
Reuse or Repurpose
Speaking of reusing and repurposing…figuring out how you can imbue new life into old products is a simple way to live sustainably. If you feel you’ve gotten all you can out of your existing dining room set, figure out how you can reuse or repurpose it somewhere else in your home. Getting into the mindset of reusing and repurposing is something your kids will see. They will notice you don’t immediately throw things out. Try to figure out how to give it new life instead and teach them to do the same.
Teach Them to Grow Their Own
Another simple way to help your children live sustainably is to teach them to grow their own. When a child helps grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs, they are more likely to eat what they grow. If you want your kids to eat healthier, start a garden and include them in the growing process.
Working in the garden helps get your kids outdoors, connects them with nature and educates them on where food comes from all at the same time. Start small and go from there. Don’t forget to encourage taste testing along the way. It’s a good way for your child to find out which fruits, vegetables and herbs they like and which they don’t.
You should educate your kids on how to re-grow food, too. Many vegetables and herbs can be regrown. It minimizes waste and is a fun project to actually get to watch their food grow. Anything they can’t use, or regrow, should make its way into the compost. Then, they can use the compost to help their new garden grow.
Encouraging your children’s imagination can help them live more sustainably in the future. How do you do this? Include your child in your upcycling and repurposing projects. Have them help figure out ways to repurpose or upcycle, rather than trash. They may come up with some wild ideas, but it’ll get them thinking.
Get creative. Use their ideas and you may just find a new use you never considered. You’ll probably find your child will start thinking about how to upcycle their toys, furniture and clothes, too.
Allow Your kids to Help Around the House
Kids like to help. They like to learn new things. You can either encourage or discourage their interest. If you want to teach them to live sustainably, allow your kids to help around the house. In doing so, you can educate them on how to properly do laundry. You can teach them how to conserve while watering the garden. Have them help you make a natural cleaning solution and then use it throughout the house.
Walk More, drive less
Walking is not only a great way to get outdoors and exercise, it’s a sustainable form of transportation, as well. Encourage your children to walk to school, walk to friends’ houses and walk to the park. If it’s too far to walk, riding a bike is an eco-friendly option.
What you don’t want to do is teach your children hopping the car every time they want to go somewhere is how it should be done. If you only need to travel a short distance, walking should be the go-to option. Even hoping on a bus or train to go places a little farther away should be considered before getting in the car.
If you have to drive, try to bunch your errands so as to minimize the number of trips you need to take and the emissions your vehicle will emit into the environment. Those with hybrid or electric vehicles can still help teach their kids to walk more, drive less. It doesn’t hurt to have less vehicles on the road.
Living Sustainably Starts at Home
While there are numerous ways you can teach your children to live sustainably, it all starts at home with the example you set. Do what you can to encourage sustainable living. Include your kids in the process. Working together to create eco-friendly habits and sustainable routines is beneficial to all.