Teaching Kids to Live Green

Are your green living habits rubbing off on your kids? Will the next generation care about the environment as much as we do? Less? More? The answer is up to us. The “us” is the parents of those cute little preschoolers.

I strive to live an environmentally friendly life but I can not assume that my kids will be the same way. The best way to insure that your child will follow in your green footprint is by teaching them. Here are some fun and easy ways to teach your little ones to love the earth.

• Read Green. There are lots of great books and magazines for little ones on green topics. My preschooler’s last one was called “Why Should I Recycle?” by Jen Green. She loves the book and has decided (much to her father’s dismay) that she wants to be a trash man when she grows up so she can recycle all day long. NWF’s kid’s magazines are also a great way to introduce nature to little ones.

• Green Chores. Even at the rip old age of three, little ones can start helping out around the house. If you mark your recycle bins with either pictures or different colors little ones can then help you sort your recyclables. So when you hand your child that empty mac n’ cheese box to recycle for you, you can explain what will happen to it. That box will have a new life.

• Take a Hike. Taking your kids for a walk in a natural setting is a great way to experience the world around us first hand. Make it a very slow walk with lots of stops along the way. During these stops explain how things work. Talk about the trees, birds, deer, flowers, bees, soil, etc.

• Talk Green. There are lots of things you do around the house and yard that are green and your child just thinks that is way things are. They don’t know any different. For instance, we use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. For my daughter’s birthday party I bought some themed paper napkins. She loved them! Not because of the theme but because they were paper. I explained to her why we use cloth. Since then she prefers to use cloth.

My preschooler is already aware of the environment and the world around her. She knows why we take reusable bags to the store. She cries when she sees someone cutting down a tree (or even a branch). She works hard after it rains to save the worms from dying on our driveway. With kids like her my answer would be a “yes!” The next generation will care even more then us.

What are you doing to help you kids learn green living habits? What has worked for your family? Please share with us so that we can all make the world a little greener.


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