Children these days have many technological distractions that keep them busy and less connected with the environment. Whether it’s a video game, television program or computer screen, children are forgetting how to connect with their natural side. Many parents seem to be forgetting the importance of teaching children about their intrinsic connection to the earth and their role in protecting the planet for future generations. There are ways to help children cultivate an earth-conscious way of living.
Live by example
As parents, we are models to our children. Our children learn how to be in the world by learning from what we do. Firstly, I would stay away from television as much as possible. Children’s television shows are spaced out by commercials which target and manipulate children to want to buy more and want more of mostly products that are wasteful and toxic.
Have your children help make a compost. My girls take out our leftover kitchen scraps and put them in one of our bins where our worms live.
After watching me brew my own Kombucha and grow my own sprouts in the kitchen, my girls now share in the process of making them with me. Young children love to help, encourage your children to help. Educate yourself about ways to help protect our Earth and teach your children to follow in your footsteps.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Children love activities where their creativity is challenged. A great idea is to ask your child to find reusable alternatives to disposable household items and turn the trash into treasures. For example, by using finished toilet and paper towel rolls you can make a musical instrument by putting rice or beans in the roll and taping off both ends or make a bird feeder using old plastic bottles.
My daughter thought of a great idea. She takes old jeans, shorts, or pants and cuts out around the bumb pocket and attaches a strip of material to make a purse. Also, talk to your children about the importance of minimal packaging and what to recycle and reuse.
There’s nothing more magical than having a child plant a seed, nurture it, and begin to see it grow. This reminds them that all living things work together to thrive. As they watch their plants grow, children feel so proud and excited about spending time in their garden. If you do not have land to grow a garden, you can give your child a few pots to plant their veggies or flowers in and they will still be in awe and inspired. Plus, a child is more likely to eat a vegetable that they have nourished and watched grow.
Spend time in nature
Spend time with your children outdoors. Simply sit outdoors, have a picnic, take a nature walk, or maybe visit a beach. Allow your children to see the beauty that the earth contains and help them learn the interconnection of all living things. This will help them to keep our planet beautiful and consciously take care of it and not destruct it.
Spend time with animals
The simple connection between species reminds us of how mysterious life and nature are and how much we happily cooperate in nature to exist. Children learn responsibility and compassion from spending time with animals. They learn to respect living things by simply being in an animal’s presence.
Let your children walk barefoot when they play outside and let them get dirty.
Join your children and participate in cleaning up nature such as a beach clean-up or a creek clean-up. When children are a part of the cleaning up of their environment, they can see the change happening with their own eyes and that positivity inspires them to want to do more.
You do not need solar panels or land to teach children about the earth. Families can start in simple ways, like using cloth napkins instead of paper or bringing cloth bags for groceries. It is a good idea to set goals that you would like to achieve that benefit the environment. Start from where you are and what is around you. No pressure, just be sure to mix fun with many rewards.