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Looking to teach our children to be more green conscious and responsible is a matter of having them participate in what we adults have learned ourselves. Even if this is all a little new to you, the nice thing is you can all learn together. Here we will be talking about some great simple tips on teaching our children to make greener choices and being the change we want to see in the world.
#1 Read Labels
Now depending on the age, and when your children start reading, the sooner you can get them looking and learning to read labels is going to help them make better choices.
The more you eat natural, whole foods including, organic meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds — the better it is for your health. But if a portion of your diet consists of something out of a box, bag, or can, you should read the ingredient label.
Explaining to our children how to read labels and interpret what is natural and what is not will start them in the right direction for a long life of healthy eating.
The ingredients appearing on the food label, are listed in order of quantity, from most to least. So when reading a food label for cereal, for example, you’ll typically see Whole Wheat listed first because the majority of the product will be made with it.
You’ll see words on the labels that you will be unable to pronounce, this is an opportunity to explain to our children my personal rule of thumb, that is, if you can’t pronounce a food ingredient or, you don’t know what the food ingredient is, do not eat it.
#2 Plant a Garden
Getting green is easy in the garden. Children love to watch things grow and be a part of the nurturing a plant needs. Planting a small or big garden with your kids is moving very close to nature and showing them what it is like to be responsible and provide for themselves.
I know many of my friends garden with their little and big ones. Working together, and learning about nature will spark an intuitive desire to protect and care for our planet.
If you are not a gardener yourself but want to teach the family a little about caring for mother nature, start small and grow a single plant together. Tomatoes or lettuce are a great start. You may find you have yourselves a punch of green thumbs in the family. You can also plant a tree with them to nurture or take care of a house plant 🙂
Gardening provides lots of healthy ways for kids to stay active and healthy. Between digging, raking and planting, your children will get plenty of exercise, vitamin D and fresh air. Also, kids that grow up around homegrown vegetables are much more likely to eat them, helping prepare them for great choices growing up. My grandparents had a wonderfully huge garden that I would always go and snack on. I definitely contribute my love of peas from their garden.
#3 Play Outside
Possibly one of the most important tips for teaching our children to be more green conscious. Did you know there is now a condition called “Nature Deficit Disorder”? I could not believe that we have come to the point where we have identified symptoms found in our children from lack of outside nature exposer. Disconnect from nature is leading some kids to become overweight, anxious and depressed. I would maybe attribute these symptoms to far to much screen time as well. Something we will talk about later.
The magic that comes from playing outside can not be recreated indoors. There are some very important things that occur:
They build up their immune system;
This is because they are exposed to dirt, pests and bacteria. While we think dirt pests and bacteria are bad, it is very much the opposite. When your children come into contact with these things in a natural way, they are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies.
Stimulates the imagination;
Playing outside will help children develop their imagination. Imagination is important to create unique and intellectual individuals. Learning to express and understand things. Playing in nature will stimulate the mind more than any other activity.
Something a lot of our children are not getting enough of. Exercise is necessary for our health and well-being. Children can find joy exercising and be away from what I call “screen time”. Sitting inside on a computer, watching TV or playing on a phone.
#4 Don’t Leave the Tap Running
A great tip for our children to learn, especially when brushing their teeth is to not keep the tap running. Learning that we do not want to waste water but rather conserve our life-giving resource. This will bring our children to a green state of mind.
Teaching our children the importance of water and showing them that it is precious will help them to not take it for granted. Water is not readily available to all people here on planet earth. It is overwhelming to think we have access to what seems like an unlimited source while others are sadly lacking this beautiful gift.
Let us teach our children that while using water, they be conscious of how important and precious it is by conserving and not wasting in ever use possible.
#5 teach them to recycle, reuse and compost
Teaching our children to be aware of wastefulness is going to be a great green tip, and likely save you some money. Our children can learn that reusing, recycling and composting will benefit the whole planet. Understanding that small actions can have a huge impact will create a more green way of thinking.
Have your children be responsible for the compost. This can be fun and even a science project to take food scraps and create viable soil for growing a garden with. You can learn more about composting in our article 6 ways to green up your kitchen now.
Reusing rather than replacing as well as recycling and being sure that all products have a place rather than just the garbage will show our children we are responsible and accountable for where our consumer goods end up.
Also showing our children to use reusable bags when shopping or different techniques on how to cut down on waste so we don’t have to throw it in the trash.
#6 Have them help prepare a green meal for the family
This can be really fun for our children as they can use some of the recommended tips to be more green conscious. Starting with reading the labels on ingredients, picking fresh food from the garden and composting food scraps during meal preparation.
Creating a green meal can give the opportunity to tell our children about farming, growing food, where our food comes from, and what choices to make to live a healthier lifestyle.
Having the benefits of teaching them all about food is great, but we also get to have amazing family bonding through meal preparation and eating. Many cultures eat in large groups together, while everyone is helping prepare the food and working together.
As our children grow and start to see the choices we are making, they will understand why it is important to be green. We can help them prepare for a better future for their children and the health of our planet. These are a few easy and fun tips that will get them on the right track.
What tips do you have to help teach our children ways to be more green conscious?
This post was originally published on February 15, 2016