Sustainable living takes dedication and effort, but we all know it’s well worth it to help sustain our planet’s precious resources. Raising your child to also be eco-conscious can seem like an enormous task and a huge responsibility. However, it doesn’t have to be a stressful process.
By Mariza Halliday
It is possible to bring up a little eco-warrior with the help of a few simple tips and tricks. You might even find it also strengthens your family dynamic and the relationship between you and your child. Here are a few ideas on ways to introduce eco-friendly practices into your home:
Lead By Example
Children learn by watching you. It’s all well and good to talk to them about sustainability, however, if your actions don’t align, they won’t make a positive impact. Incorporating eco-friendly practices into your everyday life can help your kids to understand how small changes can have a big impact.
Inspire a Good Relationship with Nature
The best way to get our kids to respect the environment is to help them fall in love with it. All it takes is a trip to a national park, beach or even a short hike on the weekends. Engage in fun activities like swimming, beach clean-ups and cycling to help them develop a natural reverence for the environment.
Implement an Eco-Friendly Rewards Chart
Positive reinforcement is always a great way to encourage eco-friendly household habits. A good way to do this is with an eco-friendly rewards chart. Explain that the chart is a positive system and encourage your child to earn stickers by doing environmentally friendly things around the house.
Encourage Water Saving Habits
South Africa is prone to droughts, and we should all be doing our part to conserve water wherever possible. It is ideal to teach your children from a young age to always turn off the tap while they’re brushing their teeth and washing their hands.
Another good idea is to make use of a bucket to catch water while showering and let them use that to water the plants. If you want the whole family to be conscious of how much water they use while showering, installing a shower timer is a good way to limit excessive water use.
Combine Household Chores and Eco-Conscious Behaviour
The best way to encourage a good habit is to associate it with another so that they are both eventually carried out together. If you teach your child to wash dishes after dinnertime with the absolute minimum amount of water and only eco-friendly soap, then positive reinforcement will ensure that over time your child will always wash dishes in an eco-friendly way. In a similar respect, if you teach them to switch off lights and power points in and around their bedroom before bedtime, it will eventually become a part of the usual bedtime routine. This simple process will intrinsically link daily household actions with eco-friendly habits.
Say No to Plastic
Kids are easily influenced, and they usually notice much more than you think. If you use plastic in your daily life, then your child might develop a mindset that is indifferent to environmental sustainability. Make sure you always use reusable containers for their school lunches and discourage using other plastics. When you take them grocery shopping, be sure to bring your own reusable bags so that they see this as standard behaviour. Check out the amazing POP bag from www.kiwinet.co.za, the perfect bag when shopping for all your fruits and veggies.
Keep Environmental Resources Around The House
There are some brilliant resources available to teach kids how to be environmentally conscious. Introducing them to your child will hopefully strengthen the good habits they’ve already learned at home and possibly teach them some new ones! There are so many ways to teach children about and involve them in the eco-conscious journey. Continue to encourage your kids to respect and care for their environment and you will be moulding them into true eco-warriors.