Raising socially and environmentally responsible kids is one of the most important things that you can do as a parent. Emotional intelligence can help them thrive in every single setting, as it allows them to empathize and understand others better. Combine that with a global citizen approach, and you’ll be raising little world leaders before you know it.
It isn’t just for the sake of society that you should aim to raise your kids to take care of the environment and to put sustainability at the heart of all that they do. This approach can also help them take better care of their health, well-being, and even finances. You’ll be helping them live a happy, fulfilling life, and you can start with this guide:
Build a Sustainable Home
If you want to teach your kids to care for the environment, then you need to start with your home.
- Grow a Garden
One of the best ways to get your kids to care for the environment is to grow a garden. You can do this almost anywhere. If you have a backyard, you can create a really intricate garden and grow (and enjoy) delicious seasonal produce throughout the year. If you have a balcony, you can grow fruits and veggies in planters or in a vertical garden hanger.
If you don’t have a balcony, you can still grow produce inside, though on a smaller scale. In all cases, you will be bringing in nature, teaching your kids about food and responsibility, and also improving their health by growing fresh, organic fruit and veg for you and your kids to enjoy.
- Switch Energy Providers or Invest in Solar Solutions
Your kids won’t understand this tip if they are young, but you’ll certainly save. You have two options to help reduce your costs. One, you can switch to a renewable energy provider, whose energy costs after that initial startup typically continue to drop. Or, if you have your own home, you can take advantage of both the federal and state tax credit options for solar panels and invest in a solar solution for your home. Those living in states like Arizona in particular will see huge changes to their utilities costs by buying a solar solution from top solar companies in Tucson, and you can then use that cost to better raise your family.
- Make Zero Waste Swaps
Zero waste is a beautiful way to live. Forget about that endless packaging that continues to pile up and up in your home until you take it out to the garbage. Forget about single-use and disposable. By investing or repurposing items you can enjoy a more beautiful home that is cleaner, healthier, and neater for you and for your family.
As with the solar panels, the upfront cost for zero-waste items can be higher than their disposable items, but if you choose options that last a lifetime, you will just keep saving.
- Improve Home Insulation and Efficiency
A dry, clean home is great for the family. It can also be great for the environment and for your utilities bills, as both tips work to prolong the longevity of your home, and reduce the overall energy your home uses.
Have a consultant visit to inspect your home and find areas where you are losing a lot of heat. Once you know these problem areas, you can update the insulation, use curtains, or even tapestries to reduce heat loss in your home.
As for efficiency, consider upgrading to a smart home system. These systems sync up with your phone so they turn off when you leave, turn on during your drive home, and work to make your energy usage as efficient as possible.
Teach Them Where Things Come From
The previous tips are great to help improve your budget and everyone’s health. These tips will help them grow to care for the environment and be socially and emotionally intelligent adults.
Kid-Friendly Documentaries and YouTube Videos
Watch documentaries and shows about the environment, science, and more. If you don’t know where to begin, look to YouTube. There are so many incredible content creators that have gone above and beyond to create animated videos that explain so many topics about the world, the environment, and the future.
Teach Them to Grow Their Own Vegetables
You have that garden, but if you don’t teach your kids how to grow and care for fruits and vegetables, you only enjoy half of the benefits. You will be amazed at how willing even the pickiest of eaters will willing eat fruit and vegetables they don’t normally like, simply because they personally grew it.
It isn’t just a willingness to eat more vegetables, either. Learning to garden teaches responsibility, patience, and above all else, where food comes from and how hard it is to grow. This understanding and responsibility help kids grow up right.
Teach Them Zero Waste Practices
Zero waste isn’t just buying reusable items and trying to cut out plastic and other non-recyclable items. It is also about using waste. From making stock out of vegetable scraps to finding second-hand items and either repairing them or upcycling them. These are such old practices, but they help ground us and help us appreciate the items that we have.
Encourage Imagination over the Material
Kids want toys, and unfortunately, they often want what their friends have or what they see on television. By focusing on the toys that encourage imaginative play, and by limiting what toys you buy them, you can encourage their creative process. Saying no and not buying them every toy they want also has another benefit – it helps them appreciate what they have and not immediately toss old away for new. Teach your kids to be mindful consumers from the start, and they’ll be better with their money, and more appreciate of what they have now and as they grow up.
Recycle and Reuse First Before Throwing Away
Get everyone together to sort through recycling. Read up on what your city, in particular, includes in its recycling. Some cities only recycle plastic bottles, and that is it. Others recycle almost everything, so long as it is sorted correctly.
Go through and teach your kids how to properly recycle and to notice when items can be reused or repurposed. Your kids will be recycling warriors and incredibly savvy thinkers.
Somehow my two-year-old knows the difference already between what to recycle and what to throw out! I agree- teach them early!