Teaching kids the importance of living an eco-friendly life is easy. There is no need to bog down or scare your child with environmental facts if you don’t want to. Your child may be to young to understand some of the facts and statistics anyways.
Kids don’t have to know they are protecting their health and the environment to live an eco-friendly life. Just make conservation and reuse a normal way of life in your household. If they see you practicing what you preach they are likely to follow in your footsteps. Below are a few examples.
Compost: If you have a compost bin a good way to teach your child the benefit of composting is to involve him in the process. To start have a container in the kitchen at his reach to place his banana peels, apples cores or other kitchen scraps in to it. When the container is full have him go with you when you take it to the compost bin. When your first batch of soil is ready to distribute to your garden show him what the soil looks like. Explain to him the science of decomposition, the rich dark black soil came from the kitchen scraps and leaves the two of you put in the compost bin.
Garden: If you have a garden let him spread the new compost soil around the plants. At the same time teach him how to garden and if he is old enough let him weed your garden and then plant a few seeds. A vegetable garden would be a great idea to also teach him how to garden organically and eat healthy.
Energy: Remind your child to turn off the lights when leaving a room. Let him open the blinds and curtains in the morning so that the natural sunlight can shine through. Remind him not to leave the refrigerator open. He should think about what he wants before opening the refrigerator door. Show him by example when you are making a meal.
Recycle Bin: To teach your child to recycle put him in charge of the recycle bin. It is his chore to sort out the recyclables (younger kids shouldn’t handle opened metal cans) and to make sure no one throws any recyclables away.
Walk with your kid: If your kid’s school is within walking distance walk with him to school. Don’t drive him there. If there are other places that the two of you go to together maybe you can walk or bike there instead of driving there. It will help your child bond with you, help you and your child exercise and because you use your car less the both of you are helping the environment.
Water: Teach your child to keep the water flow to a thin stream when washing his hands, to turn the water off while brushing his teeth and to take shorter showers. Give him the timer you use to time his showers.
Games: Play eco-friendly games with your child. There are plenty of environmentally friendly board games and games online to choose from. You can even make some up together. Try making a board game out of recycled items. Take a look at Recycle Works Kids and EcoKids online for some eco-game ideas.
A job well done for green chores, gardening and living green could mean a reward at the end of the week. It is up to you to decide what kind of reward is deserved, but a good idea may be a cool eco gift like an accessory made out of recycled material.