By now, as an adult, we hope you understand the importance of “going green.” Throughout your life, you’ve seen the earth’s resources wax and wane, change, diminish, become more expensive, and in some cases, endangered. What better reason to teach your kids how to be green than to preserve the environment for their future. One day, they’ll be in your shoes and be thankful that they did their part to sustain their environment with these simple practices.
Though they may not understand fully why recycling is important, you can teach them in simple terms by just explaining that if we can reuse things, we should. Explain that recycling allows us to reduce waste and pollution, and that we can do our part by paying attention to what we’re throwing out. Make it a game! Let your kids each have a recycle bin in the garage, and whoever fills theirs up first gets to pick a special dessert one evening after dinner. Make it easy for them to do, give them a reason to do it, and they will make it a habit.
This one may be a little tougher for them to grasp as they learn about oceans and the vast bodies of water, but impress on their minds that clean and fresh water is not an unlimited resource for you. Explain that it’s a blessing that many families all over the world don’t have, and we should treat it as such, doing our part to preserve it. Show them how they can do this by taking short showers and using minimal water around bath time. If your city is mid-drought, tell them why you haven’t washed the dirty car. Teach them and show them, and they will follow your lead.
Growing a garden with your kids is not only good for the environment, but it’ll also teach them the discipline of patience over time and what it’s like to tend to something that needs their help. They’ll learn what it means to see the fruits of their labor, which will teach them great disciplinary habits. There’s no greener way to live than to live off the land that you tilled and tended to, and to teach your kids to do the same.
They call it “Energy Saving Mode,” but your computer actually saves very little energy when it “sleeps.” Teach your kids that if they’re not using it, they might as well cut it off. Help them to understand that, like water, energy isn’t limitless and doesn’t come without cost. As they get older, feel free to explain where it comes from and how it affects them; but for now, make sure they know to cut of lights before they leave the room, to turn the computer off, and to not let that fan run all day while they’re gone.
All of these practices will reduce you and your families carbon footprint tremendously and will unify you and give you the gift of good talks and good times with your kids in the future.