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There’s a lot of concern about climate change in the modern world and, naturally, it can make us worry. And while we may try to shield our children from these concerns in order to protect their mental health, we have to remember that we can’t necessarily shy away from it. There are many different things we can do to teach our children about sustainability, but it’s important to be age-appropriate. So here are some actionable tips.
Instigate Bigger Conversations
This is very useful for school-age children. It’s very likely that your children are going to have opinions that they will want to share and they have their own sustainable ideas by themselves. At this point, you need to help them assess the impacts of their individual actions so they can understand how to make a change. You can also start to share information about why the sea level is rising or why the earth is warming. Ultimately, it depends on the level of your child’s understanding and maturity, but you can start those bigger conversations and show there are certain sections of society that are trying to do things, for example, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures has provided a list of TCFD recommendations for companies to be compliant. But we have to reiterate the idea of “looking after our own patch.” If we can help our children become aware of their individual impact, this can hit the message home.
Think About Our Food Choices and Wastage
There’s a lot of information out there on the impact of eating meat and consuming dairy on the environment. Asking our children to understand the impact of what they are eating on climate change and helping them to contribute their own plant-based meals can instigate a bigger discussion. Additionally, the impact of food wastage can be a very complex subject matter. But one of the best things we can do is to create methods to minimise wastage at home. For example, growing foods from our leftovers, setting up a compost heap, and ensuring that every item of food we purchase is going to be consumed while also having a positive impact on our health. Another thing that can help your family to be more sustainable is to buy things second hand . Perhaps starting in charity shops or Facebook marketplace to find things you might need. These places are particularly good for children’s toys and clothes, they grow out of things so quickly that often the second hand are still in brilliant condition.
Helping to Conserve Energy
This is something that we can start our children on when they are very young. It’s important to use only what we need. While this can be a difficult conversation to have with a very young child, we can instil solid habits to help them conserve energy and water. For example, when your youngest child is brushing their teeth, they do not need to run the tap constantly. We have to remember that habits can take some time to form, and even if our children are not aware of the impact of it on the planet, getting habits like this in place as young as possible can help them understand when they are older.
These three different methods can make a big impact. It’s important to remember that we shouldn’t scare our children, but we have to remember that having these bigger conversations is so important. After all, they will inherit the world so they need to learn to look after it.