Teaching Our Kids About the Environment

175 - KidsA guest post by Marcela De Vivo, a freelance writer and mother of three from Los Angeles, who currently works with SoothingCompany.com. A believer that it’s never too early to teach kids about their impact on the environment, she encourages her own children to recycle as well as help her garden. Why not follow her on Pinterest today.

As parents, you teach your children all sorts of things early on to help them lead a more productive life for themselves and their families when they get older; however, one of the things that often gets lost in the shuffle is teaching children about the impact they have on the environment and why it’s important.

While many children will learn about the environment in school, the lessons they learn aren’t always practical ones that apply to their own everyday life. As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children about how their choices affect their own environment, as well as the rest of the world.

Caring the the environment may seem like a big lesson to teach a young child, but it’s actually relatively easy to get the point across. Children may not understand the full impact of how people affect the environment right away, but providing them with some basic information they can use in their life can make them more responsible adults.

Why Is Environmental Education Important ?

Children quickly turn into adults, making decisions for themselves. These decisions will affect future generations – including their own children.

Without the proper information, about things like environmental impact, and the benefits of sustainability, younger generations will suffer the negative consequences, from poor air quality to a potential lack of clean drinking water.

It’s also the younger generation that will be responsible for making changes necessary to keep the environment clean. Quite simply, the fate of the environment and everyone in it will be in the hands of the youngest generation very soon.

Without proper environmental education, how can we expect our children to make wise decisions for future generations ?

Teaching Kids About the Environment

Discussing the environment with your child is a good start, but there are more beneficial and effective ways to teach kids. Kids tend to learn most effectively through actions and interactive education, so starting a project like creating an eco-friendly garden makes sense if you can – both in starting to teach lessons, but also in terms of it’s own positive effect.

Create an Eco-Friendly Garden

If you have even a little bit of space in your backyard, creating an eco-friendly garden with your child is an ideal way to teach them about giving back to the environment. In your garden, you can include items like herbs, fruits and vegetables that are native to the area and are easy to grow inside the house. Not only will this project help you keep your kids interested in being eco-friendly, but they’ll also enjoy eating the results!

In addition to fruits and vegetables, you can stress the importance of doing something good for the environment by incorporating items like bird baths and water fountains for the local wildlife. As an added benefit, these eco-friendly garden fixtures can make spending time with your family even more pleasant.

Get Involved In Recycling

Another easy way to teach kids about their environmental impact is through recycling. Explain the importance of recycling to your children, and explain what happens to all the stuff you recycle. If your neighborhood has a recycling group, consider joining and taking your child along to meetings, and ask him/her to help you with the activities. Recycling groups are also a great way for kids to start to learn about the importance of community involvement.

If there’s no recycling group in your area, create one for your own family. Use separate bins for different materials and teach your kids how to identify what can be recycled and what can’t. You can even reward your kids for finding recyclables around the house or in the neighborhood that could otherwise go into a landfill.

The impact we have on the environment is a serious issue, and its one young children may not fully comprehend; however, it is possible to get children in the habit of being environmentally responsible from an early age.

Teaching your children about their impact on the environment can also remind you of your very own impact – something you likely already know about, but tend to forget when life gets too busy and stressful.

(Agree, disagree, want to ask a question or share a story ? Please post a comment – all polite, open debate is welcome)

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Photo by Greendoula (creative commons), via Flickr

Comments

  1. Whoops – “I agree with you that teaching our children about caring for the environment is so important” is what I meant to say.

  2. Thanks Marcela. I agree with you that teaching our children about caring for the environment and like your suggestions. I have tried to start a little further back than recycling with my kids – thinking about how much we consume, if we need to consume so much, whether we can repair broken things, buying second-hand when we can. We get to recycling after all of that first.

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