How to Teach Sustainability to Your Children

10/16/10 by Melissa McGovern

Photo courtesy of Joshua L via Flickr

Children are our future, so teaching them sustainability is essential to the well-being of our planet. It’s important to teach our kids that everything on this earth is interrelated and demonstrate how their behaviors and actions affect the environment. By teaching your children the importance of sustainability, you empower them and show them that they, too, are capable of making a difference.

Teach Kids to Appreciate Nature

Rather than just spouting facts to your children, teach them to appreciate the beautiful planet we live on by going camping, taking hikes, and spending lots of time in your backyard. Give them ample opportunities to explore the outdoors and develop an affinity for the environment. If you live in the city and can’t get out into nature that often, you can teach your kids to appreciate nature by letting them watch documentaries about the environment.

Teach Kids to Make Conscious Decisions

In order to teach your children the importance of sustainability, make them aware of the consequences of their actions and decisions. From deciding what paper to use to wrap a friend’s birthday present to choosing a restaurant for lunch, every single decision we make on our daily lives has an impact on the environment. Teach children how their daily decisions affect their ecological footprint so that they make more conscious decisions to boost the sustainability of their lifestyle.

Involve Your Kids in Household Sustainability Practices

Are you going to create a recycling station for your home? Then have your children help you design and build it. Do you have an organic garden? Then have your children help you tend to it. Give your kids ecological tasks each week, so they become more involved in your household’s sustainability practices. Not only will involving your children in family sustainability projects make them more aware of the environment and give them hands-on experience, it will also strengthen your family’s ties and increase bonding.

Questions to Ask and Discuss with Your Child

Do you want to encourage your children to think more sustainably? To get the wheels turning, ask them the following questions and come up with many more so you can discuss their answers with them and teach them about sustainability:

What do you need to live happily?
What is global warming?
What contributes to your ecological footprint?
What are renewable and non-renewable resources?
What types of pollution are there and what causes them?
What is organic food?

To encourage your child to learn about sustainability, you don’t have to force your ideas upon them. Simply give them the opportunity to explore the outdoors and grow an appreciation for nature. Children like to imitate their parents, so you can make a huge impact on their attitude and behavior by demonstrating sustainability in your everyday actions. Let your children play an active role in your family’s sustainability projects, as well, to raise them to be green adults who make conscious decisions about their lifestyle.

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