I always thought it was a cliché when I heard people say things like “The bad decisions we make today won’t necessarily affect us, but our children will have to pay the price…” Phrases like that pretty much went in one ear and out the other for a long time for me. But now that I’m a father, and actually do have a child that could potentially be affected by my bad decisions, I realize that it’s a very valid point.
Conservation and going green is one of the biggest areas that we, as parents (and uncles, teachers, or any other influential adult position…) can instill a sense of responsibility in our children. And you know what? It’s not that hard to do. Here are a few easy ways you can teach your kids to care for and preserve the environment.
I know this sounds like the obvious one, but good luck explaining the concept of recycling to a three year old (trust me, I’m in the middle of the process as I type this). What my three year old does understand is games and prizes. In the case of our household, I let my daughter put all of the recyclables in the bin (bottles, papers, etc.). When the bin is full, she gets a dollar to put in her horse bank (hey look at that! I’m also teaching her how to save!). The plan works so well that she occasionally snags half-drunk bottles of water right from under your nose to throw into the recycling bin. The bottom line is she understands that recycling brings her something good–as she gets older I’ll explain how good it actually is.
There are all kinds of ways and opportunities to teach kids to conserve water. The obvious one is to turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth. Also, mix bath time up by occasionally turning on the shower instead. My daughter thinks showers are an adventure, and she pretends that it’s actually rain. The point is that showers use less water than baths, so give them a reason to prefer showers.
This is probably the easiest one. Getting your kids outside to play gets them out of the house, where it takes energy to keep the lights on and video games/T.V.s running. Not only are you showing them how to save energy, you’re also opening up a world of opportunities to learn about nature and the environment. This, in turn, will help them appreciate conservation efforts all the more.