More than ever it’s so important to educate, inspire and share with your children the importance of being eco-conscious , earth-friendly and mindful when it comes to our beautiful planet Earth. The changes that our planet has undergone in the last century are mind-blowing (and devastating) and it doesn’t appear that things will be improving unless we all step in and make changes in our actions and daily habits.
Our children are the future wardens of this planet and they are constantly looking to adults as role models and absorb everything that they see and hear. Kids are naturally curious and receptive to the world around them. By setting a good example of showing that you care about and respect the environment, your kids will likely do the same.
As parents, there are many things that we can do daily to help show are children how to be more eco-conscious and how their actions and choices have an effect on the world about them. Good habits start early! We can easily empower and encourage the next generations to make a difference when it comes to taking care of Mother Earth with the following tips and suggestions.
HOW TO RAISE EARTH-FRIENDLY KIDS
Inspire The Awe of Nature
Kids are so naturally curious and always asking questions about the how and why of the world around them. Get your kids outside more and inspire their awe of mother nature to foster a better appreciation of it’s wonder, beauty and their relationship with it. Let them get their hands and feet dirty. Exploring nature, planting a garden, picking up litter and being aware of all the other living beings on our planet helps to teach children to respect their planet. Take these moments to show your children how our actions can have effects on our planet and how simple changes can make a big difference.
Teach Them All The R’s
Teach your children about Re-Use, Reduce and Recycle early on in life. The best way to do so is to be a role model and do it yourself. Re-use materials whenever possible through creating crafts, finding alternative uses or donating to others. Throughout your days, point out simple ways to reduce your energy usage (turn off lights, take steps for home efficiency, etc.) and use less water (turn off the faucet when brushing teeth, shorter showers) and most importantly, tell your children why you do these things!
Recycling is one of the most simple and easy ways that you can teach your children to be more eco-friendly. My kids love being the ones to add items to our recycling bins. Teach them which items are recyclable and the steps for recycling! One quick tip that I wasn’t aware until recently: Cartons can be recycled!
Many communities are now able to recycle cartons (more than 60% of households have access to carton recycling). To find out if your community is participating, check your zip code here. So many different food and beverage items now come in cartons (milk, water, eggs, juice, coffee, wine, soup, broth, etc.) which is a great sustainable option as they are made primarily of a renewable resource – paper. Once cartons are picked up from your home, they go through a sorting process and eventually turned into other paper products like tissues and paper towel. Carton recycling can have a huge effect on reducing waste and preserving natural resources in our country!
Recycling cartons is so easy! Just follow these 3 easy steps:
- Empty your carton (Pro tip: No need to rinse as long as you shake all those last drops of liquid or food out; this avoids having spoiled food or drink make a mess of your recycling at home or at the recycling facility)
- Toss it in the recycling bin (Pro tip: don’t crush your cartons, keep the caps on, and push your straw back into those small milk or juice cartons)
- Take it to the curb with all your other recyclables
Pretty cool, right? If your kids are anything like mine, they will love being able to see the process and machinery that is involved in the process. Involve your kids in the process by letting them fill the bins and take them out to the curb (and don’t forget about the excitement when the recycling truck comes)!
To learn more about the impact of carton recycling, check out the video below:
Show your children simple ways to be better earth wardens by shopping smarter: use reusable bags, shop local at farmers markets to reduce carbon footprint, buy products in more sustainable packaging (like cartons and recycled materials), stop purchasing plastic water bottles (use a reusable water bottle) and buy from companies that practice sustainability.
Fuel Their Curiosity
Our day to day lives have so many incredible learning activities that are great for teaching children to be more mindful and proactive when it comes to being eco-friendly. I encourage my children to questions ask the why’s and how’s of the world around them. While it’s great to teach children to be more eco-friendly, teaching them why it’s so important and how our actions have consequences (cause/effect) will have a more lasting impression. The more that they can see their relationship and part when it comes to improving and keeping our Earth clean, the better.
Donate Old Toys
We’re all familiar with mantra of “sharing is caring” so why not take it a step further and help your children understand the importance of donating old toys when they’re become bored of or have outgrown them. Donate them to a local shelter or preschool, place them on an online marketplace, have a garage sale or give to a friend.
Move More, Drive Less
As my kids have gotten older, it’s been great that we are able to find alternative ways of transportation. We’re lucky to live in a pretty pedestrian friendly area that makes bike riding and walking to the downtown area and stores more accessible. While it’s also better for the environment, we get more physical activity, fresh air and to burn off some energy.
Do you have carton recycling available in your community?