It’s the dilemma every parent faces – how to explain what’s going on with pollution and global warming without scaring your child.
With today's access to information, they’ll see news reports about the climate crisis, footage from wildfires, flooding, and devastating storms and this could contribute to them feeling helpless and worried.
One of the best ways to help them cope is to show them that they can have a positive impact on our environment and that the situation isn’t in fact hopeless.
Make them feel they can make a difference; that we're all in this together. As well as helping to allay any anxiety, you’ll be growing your own mini eco warrior at the same time!
Here’s our handy 6-point guide to educating your youngster about how they can help create a positive impact for our planet:
1) Get them involved in growing and cooking food – Children can feel disconnected from the food they eat, especially if they’re born and raised in a large town or city. Show them how plants grow, how fruit and vegetables grow, and what you can do with them. Giving a child his or her own plot is a fantastic way to turn them into a mini gardener and give them a new appreciation for the food we eat.
2) Take them out on litter picks – Show them the difference a clean environment makes for plants and animals (and for us!) and how important it is that waste is dealt with properly. Seeing this up close and explaining how such waste getting into our streams and rivers is one of the main ways it then gets into our oceans and causes problems for sea life such as seals, whales, and dolphins.
3) Get them involved in home recycling – Explain what can and cannot be recycled and why. Show them how and why we separate our recycling and tell them what happens to our waste when it is then sent to landfill (or overseas). Explain that this is another way how a great deal of our personal waste gets into our oceans and look at what impact that has for animals and the people who live in other countries, some of whom then don't have the means to deal with this waste in the way we do.
4) Involve them in drawing up a plan for recycling and reusing household items and foods – Get their input and ask them what they think. Make a plan together and get them to think about packaging, bags, storage items, and especially the plastics which come into the home. Ask for their input in setting some family goals and agree a positive, family focussed, reward if these goals are achieved.
5) Get them involved in Recycle Week
– We know, every week should be Recycle Week! But here in the UK’s Recycle Week
starts on Sept 21st. This year, the theme is “Together - We Recycle
”, thanking our recycling & waste key workers who continued to work despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Talk to them about the challenges these workers faced and how their hard, often under-valued work continues to make the world a better place for all of us.
6) Switch their plastic toothbrushes to bamboo ones – This may seem a small thing, but your child sees their toothbrush twice a day. It reinforces the message that we can make big changes globally by doing small things individually. Talk to them about how that all adds up if enough of us do it (at present, an estimated 3.6bn plastic toothbrushes end up in landfill or our oceans each year). Of course, using their bamboo toothbrushes twice a day also helps them have clean, strong teeth and gums too - which they'll need as they continue to grow into 'big' eco warriors!
Get your children excited about the environment by signing them up to our subscription box service. It even comes in their name, making the arrival of their new bamboo toothbrush an event. Discover more.