Growing Up Green: The Importance of Teaching Your Children About Sustainability

By: Kay Carter

As a parent, you probably understand the importance of teaching your child to care for the environment. At the same time, however, you may feel that the concept of sustainability can be a bit too complicated for your young child to understand. If you’re struggling with how you can help your child understand the benefits of a clean and sustainable environment, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few ways you can teach your children about sustainability.

Visit a Local Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are much more than fruit and vegetable stands. These markets are first-hand examples of sustainability because many local farmers use sustainable farming practices to grow the foods they sell to the community. Take a trip to a nearby market with your child to show them the positive effects of organic farming (and bring a reusable bag along to fit all of your groceries).

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Reduce Energy Consumption
Most children probably don’t think anything of leaving lights on in the home or taking a long shower. Teaching your child about the importance of energy consumption can help them see the big picture of how wastefulness can harm the environment. Remind your children that all lights should be turned off when not in use and appliances should be used in eco-friendly mode whenever possible. Additionally, encourage them to take shorter showers and turn the water off when brushing their teeth.

Avoid Single-Use Items
Did you know that there are reusable alternatives to many of the single-use items you have in your home? You can teach your kids early on how to use items that can be reused and recycled. For example, instead of using plastic grocery bags at the store, educate them on bringing a reusable bag with them every time they go. Do your children drink out of plastic water bottles? Give them a metal canteen to reuse and a metal straw to drink out of, instead.

Purchase Environmentally Friendly Products for Your Home
Many of the products in your home may not be good for the environment. You can set a good example for your children by purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products and explaining the benefits of these items. Soaps, furniture, mattresses, and pillows can all be purchased without chemicals that can harm the environment. The key is to know where to look and what to look for. Sharing this information with your children will allow them to be more mindful when looking for products as well.

Encourage Active Time Outdoors
Not only can spending time outside be good for your children’s health, but it’ll also give them a chance to learn more about the environment. If you give your children the chance to develop a healthy relationship with the outdoors, they’ll be more inclined to care about issues that could negatively impact the environment. Spending active time outdoors could also result in your child growing up to prefer walking or biking over driving.

With the help of the tips above, you can help your child understand why a sustainable environment is so important. Not only will this knowledge help your child make positive contributions to the world around them, but it’ll also help promote a cleaner world for everyone.