Children are the future. We hope that they will be tomorrow’s leaders in the battle against climate change. Someday, they will be decision makers in their home, towns, countries, why not instill sustainability from a young age?
Being an Econest also means educating the ones who live in our nest on ways to keep our nest and everything around us sustainable.
Parents are our children’s biggest motivation and inspiration. For the first years in a child life we build, craft and mould them. Whether we like it, realize it or not. The habits we form in them stays with them for many years to come. Parents should realize that our children are watching and learning from us, we have someone to do things with, making it more fun and gives us accountability.
The environment is a resource (sustainability).
We want to teach children how to always save, sustain, preserve, and care for the good things we need. Good things like fresh clean air, good organic and natural food, clean water, wild animals, trees and green eco environments. We do this by setting an example for them to follow from childhood.
This post is not reprimanding you on your parenting style but simply clever ideas on how you can continue to raise, nurture, and influence green eco-conscious and sustainable children as a parent. You are probably already doing some of these.
What can we, as parents, do to help our kids live a sustainable future?
Inventions, books, daily habits, movies, crafts, paintings, recipes, friends, role-playing games, and various household projects can teach children sustainability.
Using natural products in the home, beauty, cleaning, appliances etc. Using eco products to clean air such as diffusers, essential oils, green indoor air purifying plants etc.
Seek out good quality toys that have multiple ways to play with them, rather than plastic ones that soon lose their charm. DIY durable non plastic toys such as bamboo, silicone, and pine (wooden) toys, wooden alphabet blocks and rainbow planks.
Using their 5 sense to touch, feel, smell, hear, see, and experience things for themselves is a way that they learn and enriches them in so many ways.
“Experience is the best teacher.”
Make it fun, incorporate sustainability in their play time and fun games. Sing and dance while cleaning up in the park or at the beach. Let them think and realize that it’s fun to be sustainable.
Recycling in your home, help them choose the correct bins to put in our recyclable products and get a bonus or something extra for getting it right.
Teach children to switch off lights when leaving the room or when its bright enough outside, power off computers and when old enough, to switch off power switches when not in use.
Save water when brushing teeth, use eco toothbrush and toothpaste.
Use bicycles or walk for transportation to help them get exercise and avoiding constant use of the car that emits gas that contributes to air pollution and ultimately global warming.
Nature for Sustainability:
Spend time in nature to relax, reduce stress, appreciate beauty and the importance of nature. Nature walks are great place to spark creativity in children and adults where we learn, explore, and inspire with lots of outdoorsy space as well as clean air to do so.
Building a Nature table, nature journaling, and making Nature crafts is a pastime that your kids will enjoy while learning about nature. As well as Bird watching to show off natures’ beauty.
Fruit picking areas, farms, wildlife preservation centres, sustainable bee and bird keepers, Farmers Markets are also wonderful places to visit. Some of the Farmers Markets have a kids play area as well. Farmers may educate children about their produce, healthy eating habits and other sustainable living ways.
Reading encouraging books that emphasize the glories of nature and sustainable living. Books about pollution, gardening, marine life, global warming, animals, the ecosystem etc.
Grow a small garden in your home that your children can learn through and watch you garden. When they grow up it will be a natural and normal thing to grow their own gardens for fresh and organic food.
Every moment should be a teaching moment. For example while scrolling through social media and you see a post about a plastic chocking an animal or sea life, make that moment teachable.
“Birds of the same feathers flock together.”
Encourage and build friendships with people who are into sustainability and would love to reduce their carbon footprint. Chances are your friends children will be your child’s friend. This will encourage them to converse, live, play, and interact sustainably.
Composting is a great way to teach your child not to waste food. Encouraging them to eat all their food is a good way too. As a parent displaying food in a way that’s presentable to a child is a good way too.
Enrol your child into eco sustainability schools and programs that teach the benefits of sustainable living.
Encourage your child to watch eco educational movies and cartoons. (Blog post about eco movies and cartoons coming soon).
Celebrate and buy from eco local companies. Your children will grow up buying from the particular shop and will probably continue to buy from them.
Learning about animals, what they eat, where they hibernate and where they live gives children a better understanding of the animals’ place in the world. An ecosystem that involves everyone: animals, plants, nature and humans all working together. The perfect movie for teaching this is “Bee Movie.” We learn the importance of bees and how they play their part in the ecosystem.
Trees are also important since they provide us and animals with oxygen, shade and food.
When we show how each element is important really helps children appreciate the natural world.
We should teach children the basic skills towards sustainability such as sewing, crocheting, cooking from scratch, baking, canning, salt preservation, repairing, gardening, compositing, natural and slow living to help and equip them in their journey.
Installing solar systems in your home to provide our homes with electricity naturally to encourage children to use the sun as a natural resource. This also includes drying clothes outside on a clothes rack. Gas or gel stoves and other eco alternatives are better alternatives to electricity.
Teaching your child how to use raw and natural ingredients to make products for beauty and cleaning.
Using and creating green deco with your children is another way to build interest. It can be small things such as leaf painting or stacked fallen tree logs, dried Rose’s etc.
Making or buying eco cutlery for your children to use such as bamboo, silicone, stainless steel, or pine. As well as reducing single plastic use in the home.
If we always practice carrying our eco kit (zero waste travel kit) with us.
They will grow up and do the same because it’s normal to them.
Reducing plastic use in our clothing. Sticking to eco materials for our clothes and children too. As well as avoiding fast fashion and only buying when absolutely needed. Implementing repair, reuse and rehome options.
If we put enthusiasm in our eco journey, our children will walk along with us enthusiastically.
There is a video on Facebook of a toddler crying and complaining about Covid_19. Many people were commenting that is how they felt about covid. I saw the parenting behind that child. The parents explained covid_19 to this child so well that she was able to understand it and give an emotion to it. Education during a disaster is a good way for children to learn and understand. Another example would be to teach them during a flood or an earth quake, using disasters as teachable moments for your child to build and do better in future.
Down to earth by Zac Efron (a series on Netflix) shows how Puerto Rico rebuilt themselves and went sustainable after lots of natural disasters.
Another way to groom children is by writing, blogging and vlogging. This way the notes and important lessons will be written down for future use.
National geographic is a good TV channel and books to read about the environment and natural resources.
Adopting DIY projects that involve recycling or reusing things like cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, toys, plastic and glass bottles, natural materials, clothes etc. This is a fun way of teaching green living.
Nurture your child to read by reading labels to check for toxic products and going for the eco option.
We can set up a reward system for remembering to carry eco packs and eco travel kits. Rewards for every small sustainable step. Either cash or stickers or no chores, the rewards may be entirely up to you.
Educate them about toxins, pollution etc. in our day to day products. During nature walks, park visits, outdoor visits etc. teach them to pick up litter after themselves.
Speak motivational, make up chants about being eco-friendly.
Teach savings from an early stage. Open savings accounts for them and educate them. If they can save money, they will probably save in other areas of their lives like natural resources.
The way we live now is different from a long time ago. In the hype to make things work faster and easier, we have introduced lots of things that may harm us, the planet and our future. Visiting gran often is one-way. Gran and the elderly can instil values and skills from a long time ago that will apply now and are better for the future.
Buy and encourage them to eat organic and locally grown baby food, veggies, and fruits to boost immune system naturally. Children will eat whatever is in the house. So, if we buy organic fruits and veggies, they will most probably have no other option but to eat them.
“Healthy habits start at home.”
Sustainability in children:
Encourage simple living to reduce their carbon footprint.
Teach children the eco lingo. They will learn eco-words like plastic-free, zero waste, compositing, sustainability etc.
Create an eco-friendly family business that everyone can or may pitch in to create something at appropriate ages while learning.
Eco time capsule is a good idea to make and store till a certain time in the future. You may also create an email account for them to write letters and important processes in your journey to eco parent.
Plan and DIY a green birthday with them.
Raising house pets teaches children to respect and look after animals.
Using eco-friendly disposable diapers made with plant-based ingredients that are free of other toxic chemicals.
Explore, encourage, and teach your child on environmental careers they can pursue when they are older.
Eco vacation: visiting to eco vacation centres and hotels.
Remember sustainability is in the best of our ability. We do not do it to strain ourselves nor punish ourselves. We do it as something we love and to help reduce our carbon footprint. There is no such a thing as 100% sustainable but every little step we take helps and contributes to a better future.
A green school to check out:
Natural remedies for minor aches: https://www.parents.com/baby/health/sick-baby/natural-health-remedies-for-children/
An eco-friendly classroom:
An eco-friendly beauty and home products company:
In conclusion: Children learn by dedication, commitment, watching, imitating and repetition (routine). If we forge on our path to sustainability, our children will probably follow suit.
More from MrsChettyLife:
Cheers, happy sustainable living, MrsChettyLife.