Are you raising kids you’d like to see grow into earth-friendly adults? The best way to encourage children to embrace a sustainable lifestyle is to live one yourself. Also helpful is exposing your children to the great outdoors and the importance of environmental preservation from a young age. Here are several actionable ways you can help shape your children into natural stewards.
Plant seeds together
A fun, interactive way to pique your children’s interest in the environment is to garden together. When they’re very young, try planting seeds that germinate quickly to hold your children’s interest. As they grow older, start having them handle the watering routine for the plants on your balcony, terrace, or windowsill. Relate the health of the plants you garden to the care we take of the environment they grow in. The dots will likely connect.
Help your children cultivate a love for nature by taking them on adventures outdoors. Visit state and national parks, botanical gardens, and nature preserves to expose your children to the diversity and awe-inducing beauty of the world’s flora and fauna. These activities, along with hiking, camping, and others, can help kids appreciate nature and the need to conserve it.
Walk and cycle
Protected nature and wildlife refuges can have an inspiring impact, but any time spent outdoors can bring children closer to nature. Walk or cycle with your kids when the weather’s nice and you’re not traveling far from the apartment. Demonstrate through your example that cars aren’t required to get everywhere. If your children express interest in an outdoor sport, encourage them to play it. Praise your children when they opt to spend time outdoors rather than watch TV or play video games.
Drink from reusable bottles
The most effective way to encourage kids to choose reusable bottles over bottled water is to not buy bottled water yourself. Only buy water and other beverages in plastic bottles when you are thirsty and have no readily available alternative.
Tote your groceries
Keep cloth bags on hand in your apartment and car so carrying groceries in paper or plastic bags seems unusual to your kids. This normalizes reusable grocery bags in their eyes, a practice they’re likely to follow once they grow up and start shopping for their own groceries.
Always recycle in your apartment. Recycle about town when your children are with you (and when they’re not). If you finish something in a recyclable container and there’s no place to recycle nearby, carry the container until you find a recycling bin. Just as with the grocery bags above, this can make recycling seem the normal—and responsible—way to handle recyclables.
Scrub your floors and counters using natural household products rather than chemical-based cleaning agents. It’s amazing how thoroughly you can clean and how much money you can save when using just vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.
Turn off the lights
Hit that switch every time you leave a room or an apartment. Power down electronic devices when you’re not using them, and unplug chargers and lamp cords when leaving your apartment for an extended period of time. Explain to your children you do this because its important to conserve energy.
Be equally as vigilant where water use is concerned. When teaching your kids how to brush their teeth or shave, make water conservation a part of the education. When the little ones in your house start doing their own dishes and laundry, emphasize the importance of washing full loads.
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