What legacy are you leaving with your parenting? The values you teach your children will determine their future actions, and if we want the next generation to treasure the environment, it’s up to parents to instil respect for green living. More and more of us are realising the importance of living environmentally friendly. But how do you teach it to others if they’re still children who don’t yet realise the impact of their actions?
Firstly, greener living should be the norm, rather than the exception in your home. This is why your family activities or home layout may require a rethink. Perhaps you need a skylight installation Melbourne homeowners are doing more and more these days? Or is it time to declutter? For the sake of our children and their future, which of the following should be on your to do list this year?
BE the Example—Especially in the Home
Monkey see, monkey do. Your children will copy you in many actions, so you’ll have a huge impact if your lifestyle shows that you value the environment. Almost any situation at home can be re-evaluated and if you find a better—more ecofriendly alternative—know that pursuing it will have a lasting impression on your children:
- Making a point of switching off lights when you exit a room will save power and it can become everyone’s habit.
- When shopping, read labels and opt for items in recycled packaging rather than the most popular brand.
- Renovate your home to use less natural resources. You can install skylights so you use less artificial lighting, and a rain collection system will save lots of water.
How Does Your Family Do Transport?
Even away from home you can impart the value of preventing unnecessary usage of natural resources. Rather than driving only your child to school each day, start or join public transportation, carpool, or ride-share services.
Make Decluttering a Family Project
You children need to realise how easily people create waste, so they start considering their choices and purchases as they get older. Instead of cleaning their cupboards for them, organise family decluttering weekends. Let them see how many toys or clothing items they have that are barely used. Now you can have a conversation about only buying what one really needs.
Spend LOTS of Time with Nature and Animals
You also need to have conversations about respecting nature, but it will be difficult to prioritise it if plants and animals are only objects they see on TV. Take them on hikes and camping trips so they can enjoy nature and develop a desire to protect it so others can discover its beauty too.
Water Saving and Recycling—It’s a Given for Everyone
Part of greener living is taking up the responsibility and for kids it may mean to be held accountable first. This means that you may have to monitor details like their showring times or whether they waste power by standing in front of an open fridge deciding what to eat. They may not like you commenting on these details but having strict rules in place will be part of their learning curve.
Reimagine Family Activities: Gardening and Volunteering
You can still keep this lifestyle fun and help them learn in practice, even on a weekly basis. Teach them more about the wonders of nature by starting a garden they need to help tend over weekends. You can also volunteer at the local dog shelter so they develop a love for animals.
The Power of Information
Don’t forget the power of information but also technology! You can buy books on the topic or get recipe books about greener cooking. Alternatively, if your children enjoy spending time on their digital devices rather than in books, send them links to articles about the environment. They will realise how important it is if it’s a regular topic in the house.
You’re bound to give children chores and this could be to help out in the kitchen. Show them where you get ingredients from, such as sourcing from local farms, rather than using items transported from far away and packaged in plastic. Then challenge them to come up with recipes using these items too, not only what they see at the grocery store or in their friends’ homes.
Keep it Interesting with Monthly Themes
Living with a greener mindset may not be the most ‘cool’ thing to do at school, so children may find it silly or boring to join in the activities. One way to keep them engaged is to have monthly themes. They will wonder what comes next and it adds some fun to the process. Some examples:
- How to save a dollar
- We love to DIY
- Whose plant will grow the tallest?
- Environmentally friendly Master chef
Last Tip: The Power of Positive Reinforcement
If you’re deciding to become a greener family when your kids are already a bit older, they may need some convincing to change their habits. So, keep it fun by rewarding them with money for certain completed upcycling projects or helping with sorting out items for recycling. Or, ice cream on a hot day after gardening can have them work with smiles on their faces.