Simple ways our kids can help the environment
Are you looking for ways to teach your kids to help protect our planet? Do you want to make an impact this earth day? Here are simple ways our kids can help the environment without sacrificing what they currently enjoy.
The best way to teach our kids about anything is to practice what we preach. If you carry a reusable bag for grocery shopping/running errands, refuse single-use plastics, walk/bike more, your kids will eventually take the lead.
If you are interested in sustainable living, then I suggest that you make sustainable choices for yourself first before involving the family. Say you decide to go plastic-free at your home. Instead of looking for eco-friendly alternatives for every single thing which your family may or may not like, start replacing plastics in what you use or consume.
For eg: Bread comes in plastic packaging. An eco-friendly option would be to buy the bread at the grocery store baking section and bringing it home in a cloth bag. Unfortunately, my family loves a particular brand of pre-packed bread that comes in a plastic package. Though I understand that this bag will add to the pile of plastic trash, I do not want my family to sacrifice what they like. So instead of targeting the bread bag, am trying to reduce plastic waste by saying no to plastic grocery bags and produce bags.
Am not fully plastic free yet and I do not know if that will be possible in the near future. But am trying my best to reduce the plastic usage at our home. Eventually, I may start baking bread at home or my family may adapt to the taste of the bakery bread. But until then I will be using the store-bought bread and recycling the bread bags.
Bread bags are thin plastic films that cannot be recycled at the curbside recycling program. It needs to be dropped off at the plastic bags recycle bins placed at the big-chain stores.
We need to take things slow when it involves the family. It will be easy for kids to follow and learn a new concept if it does not involve hard and fast rule or letting go of their favorite things to do.
Here are 7 simple and doable things that kids can do to help protect our environment and conserve natural resources.
- Switch off lights before leaving the room. This simple task can help save energy and money. At our home, we ask our kids to turn off the lights and fan before leaving the room. The only catch here is we ask them to pause for a moment and think if they will be back in a min or two, in that case, its ok for them to leave the lights on.
- Turn off the water when brushing teeth. Talk about how few cities in the world are facing severe water scarcity and why we need to conserve the natural resource. Remind your kids to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth. Instead of running the tap, you can even use a cup to rinse your mouth.
- Unplug gadgets when not in use. Switch off computer, tablets or any other electronic device and make sure to unplug when not in use.
- Use both sides of the paper. Our boys love to draw and we encourage their creativity. We ask them to use either side of the paper before tossing it in the recycle bin.
- Learn about Recycling. Talk to your kids about recycling and why it is important. Then teach what to recycle and what should be thrown in the trash. Even many adults don’t know that all plastics cannot be recycled. It is better to teach our kids that tossing cereal boxes in the trash isn’t cool and it is not the correct thing to do.
- Choose better snack options. The single-serve snacks come in non-recyclable plastic pouches. Instead of cutting their favorite snack all together buy a bigger box of their fav snack/cheese and divide them into small serving sizes in re-usable containers. This means that kids would still be able to enjoy their favorite snack but will have to remember to bring their snack box home 🙂
- Re-use uniforms/pajamas couple times before wash. Please make sure that this does not hold good for inner garments/socks, sportswear and gym clothes. Washing and drying clothes use tons of water and power. Not every piece of clothing that your child touches should end up in the laundry basket. Ask your kids to choose wisely and re-use their clothes if possible.
Kids learn from us and will easily follow what we do. Volunteer in community cleanup activities and show your kids how to keep the surroundings clean. At home, come with fancy role names. For eg, the “recycle manager” will be in charge of checking the product that gets dumped in the recycle bin. The “power manager” takes the responsibility of going around the home and turning off lights and unplugging devices that are not in use. Giving our kids a role and responsibility will help them be more efficient in conserving natural resources and protecting our planet! Happy Earth Day!