6 Easy Tips to Teach Your Kids About Green Living

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green living, green parenting

The importance of a sustainable green lifestyle can be a difficult lesson to teach your children. Kids might have a hard time understanding the future impact of their actions since they live in the “here and now”. Teaching your kids about green living should start with simple everyday choices that add up over time to make a big difference. The following six easy ideas can help your children understand the importance of green living and protecting the environment.

1. Dispose of disposables

Stop using disposable items that can be replaced with reusable options. Using cloth napkins and towels instead of paper is a great place to start. Have your kids set the table and explain to them why the cloth napkins are a better choice. Some other green swaps you can make for your family include cloth shopping bags instead of paper or plastic and washable lunch containers instead of single-use plastic bags. Your kids might even enjoy the shopping experience more if they can pick their own shopping bags at home each time you go out shopping.

2. Grow your own garden

A backyard garden provides many opportunities to teach the little ones about sustainability. Teach them the basics of green gardening by saving household food waste for a compost pile and making your own natural pest remedies. Observe the organisms that make up the ecosystem in your garden and explain how the spiders eat bad bugs, the earthworms fertilize the soil and bees and butterflies pollinate the plants. You can even it turn into an arts and crafts project with recycled products they can use to decorate the garden. For example, kids can help grow herbs in egg cartons. They can each give it their own touch by coloring on it or using simple decorations.

3. Get back to nature

Take your children on outings to parks, lakes and forests to give them an appreciation for the environment you are teaching them to protect. When your family goes hiking or swimming, bring a trash bag so you can pick up litter on the ground when you see it. Explain how litter on the nature can hurt the animals, plants and fish, so your children understand the importance of their action. You can also turn collecting recyclable items, like plastic bottles or aluminum cans into a game, and explain why recycling is also very important. Get them excited who can collect the most, and reward them with a healthy treat you bring along. Again, turning some recyclable items they find in nature into art projects can provide for more fun at home.

4. Conserve water

Establish guidelines for water usage in your home and reward your kids for staying within the limits. Use waterproof tape to mark a line in the tub showing how much the bathtub can be filled and use a timer to limit showers. Show your kids how to turn off the water faucet when brushing their teeth or scrubbing dishes. Keep a chart and give each child a sticker for water-smart behavior. At the end of the month, the child with the most stickers can choose a reward.

5. Turn off the lights

Encourage your children to turn off the lights in empty rooms. If they are too short to reach the switches, consider getting a few small step stools so they can turn the lights out. You can also enlist their help installing energy-efficient lights, such as LED bulbs, and explain why they are better than the old bulbs. These bulbs are made of safe plastic, so your kids can hold the box and hand you bulbs while you install them in ceiling fixtures. They can also safely install the bulbs in lamps as long as the lamps are unplugged and the glass bulb has been removed. To make it more interesting for your kids, have them put an item in a jar each time they turn off a light that has been left on by another family member. When the jar is full, reward them with a healthy treat or fun activity. This will keep them motivated to be more aware of their energy usage.

6. Green up your home

Engage your children in replacing household products made from harmful chemicals with Eco-friendly alternatives. They can help you make your own cleaning products using safe, natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Natural cleaning products are not only better for the environment, but they also save money and are much safer around children and pets. Another way to go green at home is to use beautiful household plants that purify the air instead of electric air-purifiers. You can also involve your children in bigger projects such as solar system for your home or sustainable gardening. Local companies like Legend Solar can provide more information about saving money by switching to solar. Teach your kids how saving money and energy is important, and what they can do in their own rooms to do both, like turning off the lights and opening the blinds.

These steps are a great start toward a green lifestyle for your family. Once your children have incorporated these habits into their daily routine, you can build on these skills to help your children continue making green choices throughout their lives, and also teaching their peers.

green living, clean energy, solar power

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Author:Anita Ginsburg

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about home, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn't writing.

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