In a world where almost everyone is eating animals, talking to your kid about veganism is an important thing to do if you want to help them understand the ethics behind a vegan lifestyle.
Whether you or another family member has recently gone veg, or you have been raising your children vegan and now they are starting to ask questions, here are some top tips for reaching your kids with the vegan message:
1. Never Lie – Children are naturally curious, so when they ask questions about what hamburgers are made from, or why you don’t drink milk, use the opportunity to tell the truth in a gentle way. Kids love animals and once they understand what being vegan really means they are able to easily comprehend the importance.
2. Buy Vegan Friendly Kids Books – Thankfully there are a plenty of veg friendly books around to help make your job a whole lot easier. Tackling tricky subjects with grace and clarity, books are a great vehicle to help you explore and explain vegan concepts in a compassionate and visually stimulating way.
3. Help Your Kids Feel Proud – Unfortunately there are still a lot of people that don’t understand this type of lifestyle, so they make fun of it, and in turn can make your kids question their own beliefs. Encouraging your children to feel proud of being vegan is a powerful tool in helping them to grow their confidence and affirm their choices.
4. Knowledge Is Power – Education is key to helping your kids understand the real why behind veganism, so make sure when you discuss the subject that you also teach them about the many benefits that come hand in hand with this lifestyle. From health to environmental, providing them with a well rounded view allows them to see the complete picture.
5. Visit A Local Farm Sanctuary – Taking a trip to your local farm sanctuary where you can spend time with all the beautiful animals and hear their stories will really help your family to make the connection. When your kids realize that farmed animals aren’t happy, and in fact are often neglected and in pain, they won’t be so quick to drink that glass of milk or tuck into their egg sandwiches.
6. Point Out Vegan Role Models – Whether your kids are passionate about sports or they love music, these days there are thousands of vegan athletes, musicians, movie stars and all sorts of other famous people for children to look up to and admire.
7. Have Fun In The Kitchen – Make the most of meal times and get your kids involved in the cooking and teach them about why you don’t eat animal products along the way. Cooking should be a fun family experience and you can use it as an opportunity to get them excited about eating and experimenting with delicious vegan food.
8. Role Playing – My personal favorite idea comes from Ruby Roth, author of “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals”, and is all about encouraging children to act out how they think animals will behave in certain situations. For example, Ruby says to try these questions:
“Let’s talk about the animals we’re not eating. How does a happy chicken move? Can you show me with your body? What does she do with her wings? How does she show her feelings? What if she’s in a cage and it’s only a little bigger than her body? How does she behave now? How about a herd of wild elephants in the desert—what do they look like when they’re running free? What are they doing with their trunks and legs? Ok, now you’re an elephant in the zoo all alone. What does that look like? Wow, I can tell you really understand animals.”
What’s your experience talking to kids about veganism? Have you got any tips to share with other readers?