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Teach Them Well - Growing Up Green


Teaching your children (or any child in your life) any important lessons may come across to them as a burden, obligation, and often times turn them uninterested unless we are crafty about the ways we go about it. So, when it comes time (and it IS TIME) to instill the importance of preserving our environment with the little ones in our lives, we have to make a positive, lasting impact that is real and interesting in order to get these “growing up green” values to stick.

If you’ve followed us and/or read some of our articles, you know we have a sense of humor here at most any time. That’s just who we are. What if YOU took a humorous approach to teaching your kids about growing up green? You certainly cannot laugh everything off, but getting real, yet funny with your kids when showing them the “ways of going green” might be one way to inspire them to join in addressing larger challenges without coming across as a lecturer about yet another obligation? Humor is one way, thankfully there are many other ways to teach our children about going green an easy and fun habit.

The following points and suggestions are easy and might give you a few tools and ideas for using in your home, classroom, or any other outlet for educating on growing up green in this world today.

Less is More - Saying "Later Gator" to Consumerism

Any children that you spend any serious amounts of time with, whether you are a parent, an aunt, and uncle or whatever, will emulate you. Kids are sponges when it comes to information and witnessed behaviors. Teach children to buy less by buying less yourself. Always include children whether you are discussing various considerations, doing day to day eco-tasks around the house and definitely ask for their opinions. Your child may be actively growing up green at school and talking with them about there opinions may teach you a thing or two and they will definitely benefit by your reassurance that being green is important.

What's in Your Trash?

Instead of barking that the trash needs to go out, try making this mundane chore a bit more exciting. I mean, I am not saying that taking out the trash is ever going to become one heck of an exciting chore, but what if your kids knew they could earn something extra by recycling, auditing the trash, and making sure plastic, glass and other items were disposed of and recycled properly. I’m not talking bribery here (or am I?). Challenge the kids in your life to find reusable alternatives to disposable household items.

Household Products

What house hold cleaners are you using? Take a look around the house and make it a game if you must; conduct your own consumer experiments to see how well the alternatives work and try their ideas.

Make Upcycling Fun

Be cool, be hip, create awesome things from items you are about to toss. Instead of the old, rinsing of the milk and OJ containers and putting them in the recycling bin…blah, save some to make something fun out of them. While donating clothes to charity is an important lesson, occasionally deconstruct a few items of clothes like sweaters that you can unravel and make something else out of. Come on, you have to have seen the 80s movie Pretty in Pink at least 6 times in your life (if not what are you waiting for?) The lead character in that movie was upcycling before we even knew what she was doing had a name. Just think about the creativity that stems from tearing apart an old pair of jeans and making something with the material like cool napkins or using the pockets from those jeans on a bulletin board in their room to tuck things into. Go with it! Remember growing up green is learned, include their ideas and learn even more together.

What's in the Cupboard?

The foods we eat and the foods we let our children eat say a lot about us and how seriously we take the environment and our personal well-being. You do not need me to lecture you on your household diet. The simple fact that this country has the biggest problem with childhood obesity in the world speaks for itself. Simply reflect upon a few changes for the better you can make each week. Share ingredients, labeling, and packaging concerns with your children. Don’t just say “no you can’t have that”. Share with them the reasons why and remember there is a healthier (just as good tasting) alternative to the cheaper made foods they may desire. ALWAYS.

Create Concern

Help your children become experts at growing up green. They could very well rub off the kids next door and so on. Surround your family with nature. Children are naturally curious. As they better understand the natural habitat of animals, their importance in the ecosystem and how precious they are, they develop an appreciation for flowers, trees, gardening and various species on Earth. Volunteer with your kids. Find something they are especially interested in and volunteer. Visit a land fill and share with them the facts about our need for better recycling and the impact not recycling has on our environment. Trust me when I say that a quick trip to the dump will leave a lasting impact on your child ensuring they keep learning and continue on their path with growing up green. It doesn’t have to be a somber experience but show them what a land fill looks like and just how much unnecessary space they take up when a majority of the items in the dump are recyclable!

Yes, environmental challenges can easily appear intimidating, and may make children feel terrified or even guilty that they can’t help. Simply offer constructive perspective and help them feel like part of the solution. Growing up green does not have to be an infliction, keep it positive and the chances of going green sticking permanently is more likely to happen. Always remember humor!

Author: Amy Wermuth


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