Ways to raise an environmentally conscious child (and yes, it does matter)

May 19, 2016

I don't think I will ever eradicate global warming or save rainforests by recycling my paper and glass each week (I use an amazing service called EcoMonkey, by the way), but maybe my bit, and your bit, and their bit, and my child's bit in caring a little more for the environment could help the Earth's resources, if only a little bit (which is a good start, right?).

The things that I do at home to "help" and to also teach my son some good basics include turning lights off when we leave the room, using energy-saving bulbs, using rechargeable batteries where possible, using a fabric lunch bag (not packets), and having a veggie patch.

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Here are some more tips, via play and learn programme MySmartKid*, on how to raise environmentally conscious kids.

Encourage a love of nature by spending as much time outdoors as possible. When the weather permits, take your baby outside to look at the wind rustling the leaves or take a stroll around your neighbourhood while chatting about the cloud formations, colourful flowers or the smell of freshly cut grass. Rather than spending time in front of the TV set, plan an outdoor activity with your child. Visit a nearby park or go to the beach – even if it’s just for a walk.

Teach your child how to recycle or reduce waste by saving materials that can be used for art projects or playschool activities. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Talk about the importance of saving water while brushing their teeth, washing their hands or taking a shower. Set a good example and they are sure to follow your lead.

Discourage littering and cultivate respect for all animals. Explain the devastating effects of littering on our environment and wild life. Plastic containers are choking our oceans and metal tins, fishing tackle and broken glass are but a few examples of waste that injures or kills various animal species.

Make a healthier choice and swop packaged, store-bought food for home-grown alternatives like tomatoes from your vegetable garden or fruit from your nearest farmer’s market. Nature provides us with great choices for meals and snack time, but we have to make a habit of pointing these out to our kids and showing them how it’s done.

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MySmartKid is a play-based educational programme for kids between birth and the age of six. It focuses on early childhood development (ECD) under the important categories of Wellbeing, Identity, Concepts, Creativity, Communication and My World. The programme aims to cut through the clutter of toys, information and well-meaning "advice" that overwhelm many new and expectant parents.

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Nature images via Robyn Davie Photography

 

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