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Useful Tips for Teaching Kids to Care for the Environment

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Education, Environment & Bio-diversity
To help you get going here’s our own four step guide to teaching kids to care for the environment.

Children these days need to understand the environment. As public debates about climate change and environmental conservation become increasingly prominent it’s important that informed young people are able to formulate opinions and contribute to these crucial conversations.

It’s worth then, helping your child to understand these issues at an early age so they can develop their own more nuanced understanding as they grow up. To help you get going here’s our own four step guide to teaching kids to care for the environment.

Step 1: Inspire wonder about the environment in front of you. The environment can feel like a big, amorphous concept so the most important thing when it comes to teaching kids about it is to show them what it really means in their immediate environment. Look around and see the nature surrounding you; the back garden, trees on your street or at a local park. Use this to start a conversation with your child about what the environment is and why it’s important. You could even do some mini experiments like worm farming to put the wonders of the environment right in front their eyes.

Step 2: Understand what’s out there: Once they’ve seen it close up, zoom out and help your child to think about what the environment means on a more global scale. If you have the resources, this could involve taking them on trips to different types of environment whether at home or abroad, but don’t stress if that’s not possible. Use books from the local library, images from the internet and conversations with anyone who’s travelled to help them get a sense of the range and variety of the world, from desert to mountains, glaciers to volcanoes.

Step 3: See the human impact: Wonder suitably instilled, it’s time to think about the human impact on the natural world. There are so many ways in which we change the places around us – some good and some bad. Think of two to three interesting examples and research them with your kid. Consider the original environment and what humans did (question how, when, where, who and why). Then discuss the impact – did this improve things or adversely impact them?

Step 4: Look at what we can do to change it:  Once your kids have grasped the impact that human beings can have on the natural world, turn the conversation to yourselves and look at what you as a family do that might have a negative or positive impact on the environment. Teach children to be honest about their own activities and behaviour. Once you’ve identified a few things, don’t feel like you have to change everything overnight. Set some small, achievable goals and aim to complete one every few weeks, developing in complexity each time. These could be things like recycling more, planting flowers, picking up litter or going vegetarian for one day a week. 

Once you’ve instilled some wonder through fun experiments like worm farming, looked at the human impact and seen what your family can do, children will have a much greater sense of the importance of environmental care. As a parent this is one of the most important ways to help protect the natural world and your child’s future within it, long term.

Article submitted by :  Ame Rukwongsa
(Image credit to Salih IGDE)

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