earth with children holding hands
When you were a kid, did the word “green” conjure images of Kermit sitting on a log singing about the difficulties of fitting in? Or perhaps it brought to mind Dr. Seuss’s timeless classic about the questionably colored eggs and ham.
Chances are if you ask your child what he thinks of the “green” movement, he’ll surprise you with his knowledge of the topic. Like any other major media message, kids are being inundated with information on the need to protect the environment.
“It’s important for parents to help kids sift through all the information to find real ways they can make a difference, even at a very tender age,” says Karen Farmer, a children’s book author and environmentalist. “Kids can really feel empowered by participating in the green movement, and they’ll be establishing environmentally conscious habits that will sustain them their whole lives.”
Here are some practical tips on nurturing the budding environmentalist in your children:
• Bag it. Teaching youngsters to choose reusable cloth bags for shopping not only makes environmental sense, it could be preparing them for a world in which plastic shopping bags are no more.
Communities around the world are banning the use of plastic shopping bags, which take approximately 1,000 years to decompose. Each year 500 billion plastic bags are used around the world, and the costs of bags given away “free” by retailers can top $4 billion annually.
• Teach conservation. “If they’re old enough to wash their hands on their own, kids are old enough to learn how to conserve water,” says Farmer.
Parents should teach children to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth, and keep the water flow to a pencil-thin stream when washing their hands. As soon as they’re old enough to safely stand in a shower stall and lather up on their own, toddlers transition from baths to showers.
• Reach for recycling perfection. Children can learn what items regularly used in their homes can be recycled, from soft drink cans and milk bottles to detergent jugs and spaghetti sauce jars. Toddlers and preschoolers can participate in separating and grouping recyclables. Elementary school children can help with washing items and removing labels. Older kids can even get involved with volunteer groups that clean litter throughout the community and recycle trash found on the roadside.
To learn more about Earth Day and how your family can make a difference in the green movement, visit www.epa.gov/earthday.
Courtesy of ARAcontent