Sustainability isn’t just for adults. Kids need to learn to think about the consequences of their choices and behaviours too, just as adults do. Or like to think we do. Most of the time. Well, sometimes. When we feel like it. Mostly when it’s convenient.
Actually now that I think about it I’m definitely not doing as much as I should. And how much are the kids even aware of it?
I nag them to switch the lights off when they leave a room but I don’t tell them why. I tell them to put their leftovers in the food waste but I don’t explain what for. I try to get them to walk to school when the weather is good but they think it’s just for fun. And I can’t let them near the paper recycling because it’s usually full of precious “artwork” that’s been relegated from the noticeboard.
Being green can sometimes feel like hard work as a parent…especially when the kids have such a big influence on what goes in the shopping trolley and what kind of electronic devices are “needed” in the house. But if we want our kids to be more sustainable than we are in the future – and let’s face it that’s what needs to happen - then we need to rise to the challenge. For better or worse our kids pick up habits and attitudes from us.
Truth be told it doesn’t need to be a lot of work. It is just a lot of little things.
Here’s some easy everyday things to do with your kids that might get them more interested in being sustainable…first and foremost when you do these things tell your kids what you are doing and why!
Recycle as much as you can
Reuse items for crafts
Plant a garden together
Collect and reuse rain water
Stop using plastic straws and plastic cups
Point out the Fairtrade symbol at the supermarket
Cycle or walk to school whenever you can
Read a book or watch a programme about the planet or nature
Make a bug hotel or a bird feeder
Donate old toys and clothes rather than throwing them away
Play outside…so they know what they are trying to save and why!
The need for sustainable living is a hot topic and one that affects all of us - no matter where we live. So at the very least explain to your kids why they now have to suck their milkshake through a soggy paper straw…hey, no one said doing the right thing was easy! ;)
Published in Konect October 2019
The parenting column is written by Laura Archibald. Laura lives in West Lothian with her family and their campervan Hank. She is mummy, wife, blogger and full-time personal assistant to her two girlie girls.