It doesn’t have to be difficult to raise environmentalists! With only a few simple lifestyle changes you can make a world of difference.
Its no secret that we as adults are incredibly wasteful, but add kids and you’ve created mass amounts of waste. No one can waste paper like my 3 year old who demands a fresh piece when he makes a mistake. I’ll take the blame though for being a perfectionist because it totally rubbed off on him. Oops!
Then of course you have food waste from the same 3 year old who HAS to save his food “for later.” However, “for later” actually means never. This is also the same child who would rather throw it in the trash than to share with someone else. (don’t worry, I try to sneak bites when he’s not looking).
Regardless of how hard you strive to raise environmentalists at the end of the day they are still going to be kids. Kids are wasteful little beings but take comfort in knowing that they can make better choices, just like you!
It Starts With Modeling
I didn’t realize just how observant children were until I had my own. We can be driving down the road and talking away as usual. Topics aren’t always child appropriate but I’ve ignored it more times than I care to admit. I’ll say, “oh, he’s not paying attention,” but oh he IS and never forgets a thing!
So yes, kids are very observant in nature, especially when it comes to their parents or a role model. They’ll listen, watch and repeat. Such little copycats! You can take that with a grain of sand or see it as an opportunity to do better for not only yourself but the sake of the little ones following along.
If you are throwing trash out the window, don’t be surprised when little Johnny starts doing the same.
On the opposite spectrum, if little Johnny sees that you’re recycling soda cans he will take pride in joining along!
If you do nothing else to teach your children about saving the planet, the least you can do is be a good role model. They are always watching, I promise!
Get Involved In Nature
It’s hard to raise environmentalists when you are never involved in the beauty of nature. Personally, I can vouch that the more time I spend in the great outdoors the more appreciation I have for it. When the kids see me enjoying the simple things outside they of course think it’s the best thing ever! If mom likes it then it must be cool.
I remember a few weeks ago I was sitting down and running my fingers over moss that had taken over the pavement behind our barn. The kids stopped to check out what was so interesting. After several questions about moss and lots of touching we went on our merry way. Every now and then Wyatt will notice a patch of moss and always stops to investigate.
If it’s not moss he will ask to go bird watching. When I think of bird watching I always imagined a really old lady sitting on a park bench with 50 birds surrounding her. Don’t lie, you were thinking it too! I always thought I was too busy to bird watch and couldn’t figure out how interesting it could be anyway but boy was I wrong!
We have a couple of cardinals that eat seeds off our porch and Wyatt and I love to watch them! Finding a new love for birds really pushes you to want to help our world because after all, they live here too!
It doesn’t have to be boring to raise environmentalists! I urge you to find something to love about nature. Get outside with your children and there’s no doubt it will spark an interest. Bird watch, grow a small garden, explore the park and discover something new. The more you and your children are in tune with our world the more you’ll naturally be inclined to do better!
Shop Second Hand
If at all possible try to hit up thrift shops! You’ll save money, help the environment, and it’s a fun surprise because you never know what you’re going to find. I don’t remember the last time I went inside a Walmart and I certainly don’t miss it!
If you shop second hand there is a much higher chance that your children will follow in your footsteps and do so when they are adults! Here I go talking about role models again but I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true!
Not only can you shop second hand but can also donate or sell your own items at consignment stores or garage sells. That’s a good one to do with children because you can explain that another child will get to love his dinosaur shirt or stuffed kitty cat. I did a post a few weeks ago on Decluttering With Kids where I explained the reasons why we declutter and some tips on how to get your children involved!
I keep meaning to go “shopping” in my Granny and Papa’s basement because I know there’s got to be some cool treasures down there!
Children are like a sponge but instead of water they love to soak up information. Use this to your advantage by teaching them all about the importance of conservation. Kids love to feel like they are being helpful or making a difference so teach them your ways and they’ll surely go far! This means lots of participation and learning. You can accomplish this right in your home or on the go!
Recycling can be done both in your home or while out and about. Show your children what items can be recycled and have a designated bin easily accessible to them. Many public places also have recycling bins so be sure to point these out when traveling!
Go On A Litter Hike
This one may be best done with older kids for safety but it’s an awesome way to get them participating! I remember in Girl Scouts as a kid we were a part of several “adopt a highway” events. It’s great for the environment but was also a lot of fun spending time with other kids. These were such memorable times and I can’t wait to do this with my kids one day.
Create A Compost Bin
We started our own compost bin a couple of months ago and it has been such an awesome learning experience! He now puts his own banana peelings on the counter instead of the trash. I’ve taught him that one day our compost will help fertilize our garden so we can grow beautiful flowers and delicious veggies!
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