THE future of our planet rests on us and how we choose to live in the present, and it is vital to educate your child about climate change and issues that induce global warming.
Generating a passion for protecting our beautiful planet during the early stages of a child’s life makes a big impact in influencing their future environmental-friendly habits.
Your influence as a parent will empower your child to make smart choices in the future that will benefit the earth, even if it’s small steps.
As an individual, you yield real power and influence as a consumer, a voter and a member of society that can unite for change. When children learn to appreciate the world in which they live in from a young age, they are more likely to help protect and conserve the environment for future generations to come.
Here are five ways you can teach your child about preserving the environment and preventing climate change.
1. Normalise and practise recycling
Educate your little ones about recycling and the three Rs of recycling “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. Recycle or compost more than you throw away, and explain what you're doing and why. You can also use colour-coded bins for each waste material (glass, plastic, paper and metal) to make it fun and interesting for children who are learning what goes where.
For your older kids, who have an understanding of time and process, you can talk about or even visit landfills, and discuss how long it takes various items to break down in structure.
2. Teach them about littering
Teach your kids about how litter can destroy the eco-system and harm not just animals but plants too. Take a drive to the beachfront or a public park, and have a litter-pick up contest of who picks the most litter. The trash can be plastic and paper.
Also, educate them about how waste often ends up in unwanted places such as the ocean, which can be dangerous for sea animals. There are so many ways to weave this topic into your daily conversations. It is important to adapt your message to suit your child's ability to process the information thoughtfully, without instilling fear.
3. Explore and enjoy nature
By exploring the beauty of nature with your children, you help them engage with the environment and foster an appreciation for our planet. Let them explore and appreciate the unique and different landscapes, wetlands, mountains and seas.
4. Teach environmental-friendly habits at home
Respect for nature and the environment starts at home. Teach your child to take up new daily habits like turning off unused light switches, turning off the tap while brushing their teeth, and reusing cups and water bottles. Explain to your child why you're turning off unnecessary lighting, water, or appliances in your home.
Here’s an example: "I'm turning off the bedroom light because there’s no one in there. That's how we save energy, and saving energy helps protect the Earth and everyone who lives on it."
Every habit, no matter how small, can make an impact.
5. Preserve water
It is important that we teach our children about the value of water, and with droughts and climate change right at our doorsteps, now more than ever we have to start preserving water. This means no long showers, no leaving the tap open while brushing your teeth, and using water sparingly.