Tips to Teach Sustainable Living to Your Children and Make it Fun
Sustainable living has become a genuine trend that inspires millions of people to change their mindsets and daily habits. It’s easy for grown-ups to realize the importance of living a green life, but how can you teach your kids to live more sustainably?
Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and one’s personal resources. Children can have difficulties grasping the true meaning of this definition and parents need to be more creative while explaining the benefits of green life.
If you don’t know how to teach sustainable living to your children, check out the top 15 tips to make it fun and memorable.
- Explain everything
Before you begin with practical tricks, you have to talk with your kids and explain to them the significance of sustainable living. Try to make it as simple as possible and avoid buzzwords such as “carbon footprint” or “climate change” because it only makes kids confused. Your introduction won’t mean a lot at first, but your children will realize the point once they start engaging in everyday green life activities.
- Do not scare them
This tip is closely related to the previous one. When you talk about sustainable living, you shouldn’t describe apocalyptic scenes and devastating effects. It will only scare off your children and prevent them from enjoying a green life.
- Avoid single-use items
The world is flooded with single-use products like plastic bags or cups. Such items make our planet dirty and you should teach the kids to avoid single-use items. A good idea is to introduce gamification elements to the whole story and let the children compete. For instance, you can deduct points every time one of them buys or asks for a single-use product and award them after finishing some kind of green activity.
- Buy a travel mug or bottle
An easy way to eliminate the need for single-use cups is to buy your kids a travel mug or bottle. It’s an excellent solution because children love having their own stuff. It makes them feel more important and you won’t have to buy them plastic cups anymore.
- Encourage kids to walk or ride a bike
Instead of driving around in your car, you can encourage kids to walk or ride a bike. You shouldn’t have a problem with it since both activities are much healthier and more entertaining in the eyes of the average child.
- Conserve water
Another important lesson is to teach your children to conserve water. As one of the most precious natural resources, water can be saved simply by reducing consumption. For example, you can ask kids to close the faucet while brushing their teeth and even organize a quick shower competition with small rewards for the fastest kid.
- Prevent energy waste
Your children can save more than just water. There are also indoor lights, air conditioning, and other electronic devices they can learn to turn off when not used.
- Prepare for the grocery store
Let’s say that you visit the grocery store once a week. In this case, you can organize weekly pre-shopping lessons and ask kids to tell you what to bring and buy. They will mention items like eco-friendly bags and other green elements, while constant repeating will help children to remember reusable products very quickly.
- Make recycling fun
If there is one thing parents can turn into a competition, it must be recycling. You can encourage kids to segregate different materials - paper, plastic, and metal – and make them compete against each other to see who can accumulate and recycle more. In such circumstances, recycling becomes a game and not just a boring green life habit.
- Think twice before sending a paper card or mail
A lot of children love to write letters and gift cards, but it often creates a huge pile of garbage. You can redirect them to digital design instead – it eliminates paper waste and helps kids to learn the basics of computer-aided design.
- Don’t wash their clothes every day
If your kid wears a shirt for one day only, do you really have to wash it instantly? The answer is “No” more often than not, so you better teach your children to think twice before putting their clothes in the laundry bucket. That way, their clothes will last longer. And if your child is about to throw some items away, you can wash it together and take it to the local charity organization.
- Help them plant a tree of flowers in the garden
If you have a garden, you should help your kids to plant a tree or flowers. Most children find it to be an interesting activity, while the whole adventure teaches them to nurture plants and take care of the living world.
- Visit a local farm
Even if you don’t have enough space to create a garden in the backyard, you can organize a convenient course on sustainable living by visiting a local farm. This is where your little ones can learn a lot about animals, fruits, and vegetables, test products, ask questions, and find out everything they need to know about living a green life.
- Spend more time in nature
It’s hard to find a healthier and better way to entertain your kids than to spend some time together in nature. You can go camping, canyoning, hiking, or simply choose to visit a nearby park. In each case, your children will get the opportunity to get acquainted with the surrounding environment and learn to protect it along the way.
- Be a role model
The last tip is rather simple – be a role model and make sure to practice what you preach. If your kids realize that you don’t live sustainably, rest assured they won’t do it, either.
Up to You
Sustainable living is not an option anymore, but rather a genuine necessity. Many parents realize this, but they lack the skills and knowledge to explain the advantages of green life. We showed you the 15 most interesting ways to teach sustainable living to your children and make it fun, but now it’s your turn to react and put these ideas into practice.
Leon Collier is a freelance writer and the first person I talk to when I need to write my thesis. Leon loves to write about everything from pop-culture and travel to self-development and marketing. He enjoys reading and playing tabletop games on Saturday with his friends.