Many of us want to leave the world a better place. One of the best ways to do that is to teach your children your values, and encourage them to do the right thing — especially when it comes to adopting sustainable practices.
So, how do you encourage your kids to adopt sustainable practices that can make the world a better place for future generations? Here are 4 tips that can help you along:
1. Set a Good Example
As always, the best thing you can do if you want to increase the chances that your child will do something, is to set the example. Children like to see what we’re doing, and they want to mimic us. If you show that you are behaving in a more eco-friendly manner, your kids will want to do something similar. Model good behavior, and your children will be likely to follow suit.
Show your children that sustainability is important to you, and they will be more likely to adopt those practices going forward.
2. Make it a Game
To help younger children get into good habits related to sustainability, you can make it a game. Encourage your children to pick up litter in your neighborhood and reward them for picking up more of it. Make it a game to save water and energy. You can also help them make a game of making sure they put their trash in the right bin (recycling, green waste). Making it a game can be a fun way to encourage younger children to get involved — and have fun. As they get older, they will already have certain practices ingrained as habits.
3. Explain Your Reasons
For older kids, it might make sense to explain your reasons for what you do. Many pre-teens and teenagers like to feel as though they are being treated as adults. By explaining the importance of sustainable living to your children, you can help them feel like adults, and let them see how important it is to take care of the earth.
Children also like to know the “why” behind actions. They want to understand why they should be doing something, and explaining the importance of the earth, and your efforts to be more sustainable so that it is cleaner and healthier can go a long way toward convincing your kids to maintain the habits you taught them when they were younger.
4. Make it a Family Effort
Be sure that you make it a family effort. While setting a good example is important, you don’t want to exclude your children from your sustainability effort. Make it something you all do together. While it’s often easier to just take care of things like compost or recycling on your own, you can build up resentment in your kids if they aren’t included. Let your kids participate so that they see that it’s something you can all do together, and it’s something they can do, even though they aren’t adults yet.
What strategies do you use to encourage your kids to adopt sustainable practices?