There are so many things that it’s important to teach children. They need to learn to be productive and compassionate members of society. They need to learn how to care for themselves as they care for others. As you’re teaching the kids in your life about how to navigate this world, it’s also important to teach them how to care for the world – to care about the environment. Because children are different, there is no one surefire way to approach this concept. Let’s take a look at a few tips, tactics, and ideas.

Tip #1 You Can’t Appreciate What You Don’t Know

One of the most fundamental ways of teaching kids to care for the environment is to get them active in nature. Find activities that you can do together. For example, a nature scavenger hunt can be a fun activity for children of all ages. Simply getting outside and creating an appreciation for nature can go a long way toward teaching this lesson.

Tip #2 Be a Good Role Model

Every day you’re faced with choices. Do you drive to the market or do you walk? At the market do you use paper, plastic, or your own reusable bags? Each of these decisions is a teaching moment. “We’re going to walk to the store today so we don’t use any fuel,” is a simple way to explain your decision to a young child. Children generally learn by example. They don’t always listen to what you say but they do watch.

Tip #3 Get Them Involved

Chances are you have many daily habits that impact the environment. For example, do you recycle? Do you make a habit of turning off all the lights when they’re not in use? You can use these simple habit to get your child involved with and thinking about caring for the environment. For example, you can ask little ones to be in charge of lights. Their job is to make sure they’re turned off if no one is using them. Older children can be responsible for recycling.

Tip #4 Make Use of It

Embrace the environment in many ways. For example, plant a garden in your yard and ask your child to plant a few plants of their choice and care for them. Whether you’re 5 or 55, it’s quite satisfying to grow, cultivate, and consume produce that you grew yourself. And you can expand on this and start composting and using organic gardening measures. Explain as you go why you’re taking these steps and how they impact the environment.

Finally, ask your children what they think. Kids rarely get to exercise their opinion and make decisions. Start them thinking about, and caring for, the environment by engaging them in conversation and allowing them to make decisions about it. It empowers them to take charge of their actions and to care about the consequences.

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