Thursday, November 12, 2015

10 Tips for Raising Eco-Conscious Kids

Today we have a guest post from Amy K. Williams.  Williams is mother of two and a former social worker, specializing in teen behavioral issues. Parenting is her passion and she is especially involved in spreading the word about positive parenting techniques and preventing both bullying and cyberbullying. Today, we have a new topic on our blog - raising eco-conscious kids. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season, it's nice to step back from the hustle and bustle and consumerism of it all to refocus on important topics like conservation and conscious living. We hope you enjoy this post!

10 Tips for Raising Eco-Conscious Kids

“Not my circus. Not my monkeys.”

This is a little phrase that many children are taught by their parents. By repeating this we are encouraging kids to mind their own business and not to worry about others. While it might come in handy with quarreling siblings, we might be sending our sons and daughters the wrong message when it comes to the environment.

Seeing Green? Why Children Need To Take A Stand

Global warming and pollution are two serious threats looming over our children’s futures. These issues are very real and will have to be tackled within their lifetimes. Unfortunately, society can no longer ignore the environmental crisis that continues to grow as our populations keep taxing nature. Raising children who are conscious about their environment is vital if we want to leave our children a promising legacy.

We have all heard predictions about the dilemma facing our children, but there is hope. Raising children in our homes provides a great classroom for raising eco-conscious children and instilling earth friendly values. Parents are given unique opportunities to foster a love for miracles our earth holds.

Ten Tips For Raising Eco-Conscious Kids

Thankfully, we don’t have to possess state of the art equipment to carry out this task. By starting at home, we can teach simple techniques and implement fun activities to our daily routines to help children develop the desire and skills to reduce their imprint on our planet.

Listed below are ten suggestions for parents to take advantage of the time we are able to influence our kids’ habits and beliefs:
  1. Get outside. If children are playing outside or experiencing nature on a more intimate level, the chances are increased they will value the environment. We don’t have to channel our inner Bear Grylls, but we can take family walks, visit the park, tour the local nature preserve, or go camping.
  2. Reclaim family dinners. Family dinners benefit our children in countless ways, but planning meals teach kids about nutrition, clean eating, wastefulness, and how much work really goes into feeding people. Seek out local ingredients, seasonal products, or visit nearby farms to deepen this insight and whip up something good to eat.
  3. Take advantage of your local library. Many libraries are great resources for helping families become more eco-conscious by enabling us to check out books, movies, and periodicals without creating more waste. Libraries even offer classes or workshops to help families on this journey.
  4. Volunteer. Look for opportunities to pick up trash or clean area parks. We send the message that we care about the world and by working together we can make a difference.
  5. Repurpose everyday items. While sorting through the recyclables or cleaning a child’s room, look for ways to repurpose old belongings. Pinterest is a great resource for helping kids see new life in old containers, sweaters, books, and more. 
  6. Teach children how to reduce, reuse, and recycle! Have your sons and daughters help sort your recyclables. Look for ways to reduce your trash and begin composting food waste.
  7. Start a garden. Whether you choose containers or do a traditional plot, working the soil is a great way to learn about the environment first hand. Allowing kids a hands on lesson in sustainability will impact their health, understanding of science principles, and provide great opportunities to bond as a family.
  8. Embrace second hand stores and garage sales. Teach children how to shop for used items before buying new. This saves items from going into the landfill and it allows you to find new treasures or clothes while saving a few pennies.
  9. Plan DIY projects that include the whole family so everyone is involved and having fun. This can be as simple as installing weather stripping around windows or learning how to seal gaps with caulk. Children love using tools and display a lot of pride when they complete a task.
  10. Challenge your children to make a difference. In an effort to reduce electric bills and consumption, dare your kids to keep the electric bill under a certain amount each month. If they are successful, treat them to the difference saved. For example, if you challenged your family to keep the bill under $150 and the bill was only $130, the kids get $20 to use for a family activity or to split equally. It’s a win win- the kids will take more of an interest in shutting off lights or unplugging devices and you will be able to budget.

By working together, we can show our children how one or two acts, when combined, can make a huge difference. What is one thing you will do today to raise your child’s eco-conscious?

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