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Teachable Moments: Educating Your Kids in Sustainability

   

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Dr. Asa Don Brown once said, “Children are sponges, soaking up every verbal and nonverbal interaction.” Children look to the adults in their lives for social cues and for patterns of behavior. Because of this, everything you do, as a parent and role model, is vital to the growth and habits of your children. 

When it comes to the environment and sustainability, the same social cues are needed. According to the UN, there are only eleven years left to prevent irreversible environmental damage. Children can be taught to respect the planet, and parents should aim to teach their children sustainable practices from an early age. To understand how important sustainability is, and why your children should learn it, let’s take a look at some ways to explain sustainability to children, why it matters, and how to implement sustainable practices in your own home and home office. 

How to Explain the Importance of Sustainability to Your Children

Explaining the importance of sustainability to your child is the first step towards a brighter future. However, explaining to any child how countless things they currently do are wrong, as well as how countless things their friends and family currently do are wrong, can be difficult. You need to frame it properly. Instead of focusing on the negatives and “correcting behaviors,” try to “redirect” your children and make sustainability a fascinating and important part of life for them.

There are many great resources for this, but one of the best is NASA’s Climate Kids site, which discusses the current status of climate change and why sustainability matters, while providing countless activities to encourage sustainable lifestyles.

Furthermore, many sustainable initiatives for children can be started by doing them yourself. If your child sees you using sustainable products, buying sustainable foods, or encouraging sustainable energy in your home and home office, they are likely to follow suit. As you use each product, explain why.

Why Should Children Know About Sustainability?

Although you may see the importance of sustainability, you may wonder why your children should take part. According to Psychology Today, “A recent study out of Brown University has concluded that routines and habits in children, including household chores and responsibilities, are unlikely to vary after the age of 9. For most children, this takes firm root by the third grade.”

Consider how long it may have taken you to find a work-life balance when working at home, or to implement sustainable practices into your own life and home office. Now, imagine if you had been preparing for this lifestyle since you were a child. The habits would have already been in place and, because it is easier to form habits as a child, it would have stuck with you for years to come.

It’s clear why sustainable initiatives and teaching your children about the current environmental status of our world is so important. Although you may not think your child will pick up on these practices or take them seriously, children embrace new habits quickly and, by age 9, are likely to simply fulfill them on their own. This includes sustainability.

Four Sustainability Initiatives You Can Do at Home

As with any new habit, it all begins by finding ways to implement it into your life. The beauty of sustainability is that it can be as complex or as simple as you want. If you choose to create a fully sustainable household and home office, you certainly can. However, if you only want to make slight changes, you can do that instead. Both options have positive outcomes, and this is why sustainability is perfect for the work-from-home lifestyle.

  • Install Solar Panels for Your Home

Going back to leading by example, one of the first and most successful things you can do to get your children involved in sustainability is bring it into your home. By installing solar panels, you can incorporate sustainable energy into your home and get your children involved in the process.

As you install solar panels, encourage solar power activities for your kids, such as solar-powered robots, bottle boats, and phone chargers. In this way, you teach your children about solar power, why it matters, and why you opt for this form of sustainable energy.

  • Use Sustainable Paper at Work and at School

The next thing you can do to implement sustainability in your home is encourage the use of sustainable paper in the home office and at school. If you show your children how you use sustainable paper, like Double A paper, in your own home office and teach them about why it matters, along with why it is better for school projects and crafts, you can teach them exactly how sustainable paper is helpful for the environment and demonstrate its higher quality.

The best part is that sustainable paper allows you to go green without breaking the bank, and teaches your children about sustainability that truly makes a difference over time.

  • Buy Solely Sustainable School Supplies

With the start of the new school year approaching, you may want to focus on a sustainable back-to-school shopping list that is cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. This list can include sustainable paper, as well as items such as the Seven Years Pen by Seltzer and the Eco Staple-Free Stapler by Cameron Snelgar. By opting for sustainable school supplies, you not only save money over time, but also teach your children how to be sustainable in a work setting before they even join the workforce.

  • Buy Local and Organic Food

Although sustainable products help our environment on their own, buying local and organic food from sustainable farms also makes a difference. Because many farms don’t opt for sustainable farming, they waste water, food, and other resources each and every day.

This is where choosing to support local sustainable agriculture comes into play. The best part is that many sustainable farms will gladly let you visit, and teach your children the importance of buying local, organic, and sustainable food. Spend a day at the farm picking vegetables, meet the farm animals, and learn more about where your food is coming from all while teaching your children about sustainable farming and its many benefits.

 

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