Thursday 7 December 2017

5 Ways To Raise Kids Who Care About The Planet

Climate change is terrifying, isn’t it? If you really stop to think about, it is absolutely terrifying. I can’t even begin to think about what will happen when climate change really kicks in. I can’t. I can’t bring myself to imagine how people will act when resources are limited, people are horrible enough to each other now.

Well, that’s the cheery introduction out of the way. With climate change looming over humanity as certain and unavoidable as night over day, I think it’s important to educate kids about the environment. Ok, the chance of your child growing up to solve climate change is slim, but somebody is going to have to at least try to tackle the problem. Maybe the things you say, do and teach now will help to inspire the next generation of political activists and scientists.

With that in mind, here are five easy-peasy ways to teach your kids to care about the planet. Because they really need to, before it’s too late. They were let down by all the previous generations and now they need to sort it out. So, please try the following to instil a love of nature in your kids:

1. Plant some trees
Climate change solutions start at home, so you need to create an eco-friendly garden for your kids to enjoy. Luckily, you can do this as a family and it will be a fun bonding experience as well as teaching you all to be more mindful of the planet. Think about your outdoor space and work out ways to make it a more nature-friendly habitat. Planting trees is a great way to create a beautiful outdoor green space. Trees attract a lot of wildlife so adding trees to your garden is great for your garden’s ecosystem. Landmark Trading has some great information to teach you all you need to know about planting your own trees. They also sell all of the accesories you'll need to get started in the garden.

Plant wildflowers on your shed roof, turn the flower beds into patches of wildflower and install a homemade bug hotel in your garden. Try to create a garden that is a welcoming place for animals and insects. Get your kids involved in creating birdhouses, hedgehog homes and other habitats. Whip up some bird feeders for the winter months, plant flowers that will attract butterflies and have plenty of wood in your garden for insects to enjoy.

2. Spend time outdoors
You need to spend time in nature to truly appreciate it. Today’s kids are spending more and more time in front of screens, and yet it is important that they pay close attention to the changes occurring in the world around them. Councils are reducing green spaces, schools are keeping kids indoors during wet playtimes and kids are spending less time outdoors than previous generations. Kids don’t climb trees, run through muddy puddles or build dens like they used to. Instil a love of nature in your kids by letting them immerse themselves in nature. Encourage them to explore, let them get muddy and join in their outdoor games.

Outdoor play doesn’t need to be reserved for warm weather, there are plenty of ways to keep kids occupied on cold, winter days. Go for scavenger hunts, see how many different types of trees you can find, collect foliage to make a winter wreath. Pinterest is overflowing with outdoor play activities so head there for inspiration.

3. Choose bedtime stories that teach environmental awareness
I like stories with a strong message, so we have shelves of moraltastic books. I should probably write a separate post filled with my favourite eco books for kids, but in the meantime, try these:

If you have any favourite eco books that didn't make it onto this list, please share them in the comments below. I'm always on the lookout for new books!

4. Pick up litter
Picking up litter is a really easy thing you can do to improve your local environment. It stops litter ending up in the sea, and it teaches a valuable lesson to your child about the importance of community and doing your bit. Look out for abandoned litter in the street and pick up anything you find. If you have a public green space nearby, you could head there with a litter picker and set a goal of collecting 10 items of litter before going to play at the park.

5. Lead by example
You can talk up the environment all you want, but if you’re being hypocritical, your kids are going to notice. If you want them to care about the environment, you need to care about it, too. You need to stop using the car for short journeys, you need to eat locally produced in-season food, you need to recycle everything you can and try to avoid waste. You need to switch lights off, encourage the school to improve their green policies and write to your MP to find out what they’re doing to prevent climate change. You really do need to be that change you want to see. Inspire your kids to make a difference, too.

This is a collaborative post.

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