As a parent yourself, have you ever felt disconnected with your children?
Do you feel like they would rather spend time on their devices than sharing things with you?
Or even the other way around when you are too engrossed in your smart phones and don’t have time for your children?
While raising children and experiencing parenthood while nurturing your child is definitely one of the biggest joys of the early years with your kids, it is also one of the biggest challenges in the world once can face.
Doesn't matter if you are a stay-at-home or a full-time-working parent. Daily life can already be extremely overwhelming – preparing your kids meals, sending them to school, tutoring them math, sending them for piano lessons and remembering their soccer game schedule….
Whew! Just managing their daily tasks can be quite a lot to handle and sustainability & the environment quite often falls far behind in your checklist.
To help parents and children understand the importance of the environment and re-connect with nature, we came up with a list of things you can do to raise a future sustainable leader. We are not saying you need to raise the next Greta Thunberg, but just be a bit more connected and conscious.
Learn while Playing
Children love games, so use it as way to spend quality time with your child and teach them something about the environment. You can play games on how to recycle or quiz them in his/her knowledge of biodiversity and tell them which animals are endangered. Participate in DIY activities to create your own stuff and learn the value of resources. If you need some inspiration, check the web from some amazing eco-friendly games.
Watch films and share stories
Make some popcorn and enjoy an extensive list of children-friendly environmental documentaries created by Common Sense Media. Watching films together is not only a great opportunity to bond together, but also a good chance to learn something new while having fun. Don’t forget to have a conversation about the film after. Simple questions like, “how did you feel”, “What did you learn” and “what can we do about it” are great starters.
Eat healthy and discover food
From planting a garden with your child to going to the local wet market are ways of cultivating awareness about food. Decorate your plates with colorful vegetables and greens and explain to your kids where their food comes from, the work it takes to grow and how much resources it consumes to arrive at your house. A trip to a local farm is always a fun way of feeling this process. Stick your fingers in the mud and feel the healing power of mother earth.
Say NO to disposables
Start a contest at home to see who produces the least amount of waste for a month. Teach your child about plastic pollution and together create alternatives to single use plastic. Make it fun and meaningful! Lead by example and carry your own reusable cups and cutlery when going out. Having that ice cream treat together can definitely be trash free.
Love and reconnect with nature
Make the natural world your child’s true playground. Ditch the shopping mall and take them hiking, camping, swimming in the ocean and on wild adventures. Create lasting memories in natural places and appreciation for the wonders of the environment. Teach them about the balance of the natural world and our need to respect it. Pick up your trash and leave no trace when heading home.
Adopting sustainable practices with children might sound too much in the beginning, but if you start small and start early, you might just find great little partners to help you every step of the way. After all the time is not far away when your kids are going to come home one day and tell you what to do.
If you want to learn more about these topics, Green Initiatives is hosting its next forum on Inspiring the Childcare Sector to ‘Grow-Up’. Together we will discuss the impacts of childcare products on the environment, progressive new models of learning and what can parents do.