**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure click here.
In the beginning of parenthood, without really realising it, I was becoming a “crunchy, earth-loving mama”. It was then that I decided to learn more about the eco-friendly lifestyle and adopt eco-conscious values in our home. Here are some ways we try to raise eco-conscious children. To read our tips for low waste beginners click here.
From a very young age, our children were immersed in eco-conscious ways of living. From cloth diapers to thrifted baby items, they were pretty much low to zero waste babies. Once they could understand, we talked about the importance of recycling, composting and reducing our waste. I remember at a little over a year old, my son would pick up items and either put in the trash or recycle bag. Also they were both very good about going shopping when they were little (now they get bored :P). I would take them with me everywhere and have them help with selecting low waste items. They would carry the reusable bags. My son loved to exclaim to anyone that would listen in a store that he was an Earth Ranger and loved the Earth.
The kids also are involved with choosing their low or zero waste foods for their lunches and snacks. We made a pact when my son started school that he wouldn’t take any packaged items in his lunch. It wasn’t as hard as you might think.
I believe that involving children along your journey helps them understand the importance and gives them a sense of purpose. Seeing that little toddler so proud of himself for helping sort recyclable really hit it home for me and I have involved both children as much as possible ever since.
This goes hand-in-hand with involving them, but educating them is another thing I do regularly, especially if it is something new I am learning about as well. Lately, we are setting up our garden at our new house so this has come with a lot of education. We watch Youtube videos together to learn about gardening, sustainability and urban homesteading.
Even before this new adventure we learned about the Earth in various ways. At the library we would find children’s books about eco-friendly topics. Some of their favorites are Compost Stew and I’m Not Too Little To Help The Earth. We watch movies like “The Lorax” and some Planet Earth documentaries.
Let them ask questions
This is a big one for my kids because they have a myriad of questions before breakfast. I always try my best to provide them the answers they seek. Even at times when I don’t feel like it, listening to their questions and showing them that their questions matter, I think makes them more confident in themselves and what they know.
Let them take the lead
Instilling a sense of pride and purpose in children is important, no matter the topic. When it comes to us living eco-consciously, letting them take the lead on things drives home the importance in our family.
To this day, my son still looks after the recyclables. He bags them up and puts them on the curb every Monday evening. Both kids look after the compost heap in the back yard dumping veggie peels in and turning it with their shovels.
In our new adventure of urban homesteading, my son is convinced he will build a chicken coop and raise chickens. He has been watching videos and planning how he will do it. Honestly, I don’t think we have enough room, but his determination is admirable.
Make it fun
We never make our choice to be eco-conscious a burden on our kids. If there is a time where they aren’t interested in helping out or hearing about something, they aren’t forced. We want it to be fun and a lifestyle they love, so as kids they can choose to play make believe rather than watch a documentary.
This is what is normal for our family and I hope you can draw on our experiences and make an eco-friendly change in your life.
Drop any questions in a comment below.