Teaching Kids to Respect the Environment
One of the best ways to get your kids to respect the environment is to show them the impact of their actions on the world around them. Our children have key role to play in protecting the future of our planet. As we teach our children about the world we need to teach them about their role as stewards of the earth. Kids appreciate that kind of information especially when they feature prominently in the information being presented.
One example of how we can start teaching children to respect the environment in simple and tangible ways is to examine the way we dispose of our garbage. Garbage disposal is a chore many kids are given because it is simple to do – carry the garbage out to the curb. Why not introduce your kids to the whole concept of what we do with garbage so that they might think twice about how they discard items, especially recyclable ones.
For instance kids should be informed that our garbage can hurt us. Certain chemicals if disposed of incorrectly can be released into the environment and contaminate our air, water, and possibility the food we eat. Examples are thermostats that contain mercury, oil paints and pesticides. Even high volume animal slaughter houses that do not adopt proper waste management techniques can contaminate the water table below and harm drinking water in a region.
Examine with your child the household items around your house that may be hazardous to the environment if not disposed of correctly. If unsure about some products, talk to the retailer or read product labels carefully to find out if safe disposal methods are recommended.
Another “garbage” related learning opportunity is the family compost. Create a compost in your garden and involve the kids in the task of ensuring that organic waste like food is placed in the compost. Observe over the weeks as the compost becomes rich soil conditioner for the garden.
Create a garden with the kids and explain how the waste that has been fermenting in the compost pile provides rich organic material that will benefit the soil by improving the soil structure, aeration and water retention.
Encourage your kids to recycle paper and all other recyclable items around the house (look for the recycling symbol that is on many items, like plastic containers). Discuss the fact that the country is running out of landfills and scientists are still trying to find safer and more affordable ways to burn garbage. Our best strategy is to reduce what we throw away and reuse or recycle as much as possible.
The next time a peculiar weather pattern results in unseasonable warm weather and comments are made on television about global warming, take the opportunity to talk to your kids about the possible causes of global warming. By linking the lesson to the current weather abnormality your kids will make a clearer connection between what we do as consumers and manufacturers and the impact on the environment.
Teach your kids about the products that pollute our environment like our cars and get into the habit of walking or riding a bike to destinations, whenever possible. The next time you decide to buy a car think about the eco-friendly hybrid car (powered by gas and electricity) and involve your kids in the research process for your next eco-friendly vehicle.
When you are outside with your children take the time to highlight the distinct beauty of nature. Point out to your children the picture perfect blueness of the sky on a clear, bright day. In early spring find where lilacs or other pungent and lovely spring flowers are growing, and encourage the kids to sniff the unique scents of these spring treats. Cultivate a love for nature by awakening in your children an appreciation for the natural world.
With these tips, your children will learn to not only embrace nature but will grow into adults that will respect the environment because they know, understand and appreciate what is at stake. Your kids will develop an appreciation of their responsibility not just as conscious inhabitants of earth but as caring stewards who respect the grandeur and balance of Nature.