How to Raise Environmentally Responsible Children

Raising An Environmentally Responsible Child In Todayís Throw-Away World

by Stacey Irwin, Contributor to Think Green on

Parenting is tough. Not only are you charged with raising a child to be physically and emotionally healthy but also socially responsible.† In this age of melting ice-caps, overflowing landfills and dwindling natural resources, itís more important than ever to raise an eco-friendly child.

Here are some ways you can instill environmentally conscious values:

Start them young. Even before they are fully aware of the environment around them, make them ďgreenĒ babies.† Consider using cloth diapers and invest in organic baby blankets and organic baby clothing to keep your baby chemical-free and eco-friendly from the get-go.

Make your house an eco-friendly house. Choose non-toxic cleaners for your household needs or take advantage of the cleaning power of baking soda and white vinegar!† Take a good look at your household energy use and choose organic towels whenever possible.

Green their play time! For babies and toddlers, choose wooden toys over mass-produced plastic toys or buy second-hand instead of new. For older kids, take a break from electronics and lead a nature walk. Choose some fun bamboo craft projects to show them how to utilize sustainable projects. Play in a local park, find a nearby creek to splash around in or take the entire weekend and go camping! Teaching kids to appreciate and enjoy nature will make them more determined to preserve it.

Make recycling fun! Recycling is an accessible activity for young ones in the house. Let the kids decorate the recycling bin to make it their own! Reward them when they remember to place their cans and bottles in the bins. Make sure they know what a difference they are making with one simple step.

Teach the importance of conservation. Youíve already done what you can to conserve energy in the home but let the kids help out in conservation efforts where they can. Start a rain collection system that lets them see how much water they can catch. Encourage them to turn off and unplug lights and electronics not in use.† On a nice day, let them help you hang clothes on the clothesline instead of using the dryer!

Get dirty! Growing your own food teaches kids to appreciate what is on the table and lets them see how important it is to maintain a healthy planet so all our gardens can grow.† Encourage them to plant seeds and tend to their plants (they can use the water they collected!). Help them build a compost pile so that less waste is heading to your trash bin. Take them to the farmerís market so they can take in the local food movement!† Consider growing a bamboo garden and make sure they know that bamboo is incredible at taking in CO2 and converting it to oxygen for us to breathe.

Volunteer. Teach kids the importance of giving back!† If youíre already a member of an environmental awareness group, see if they have a youth membership and let your child become an advocate for a greener world.† If you donít have a garden for them to grow, find a community garden in your area that needs help.† And while they might not thank you for it now, sign them up to help at local park clean-up day.

As important as these tips are, remember that a parent is the strongest role model most kids will have. Make sure to lead by example Ė conserve water and energy where you can, choose alternative fabrics when possible and know that even the smallest gesture will teach your kids that being environmentally responsible is a responsibility that we all share.

This article was originally posted on Green Earth News.


Tracy B.
Tracy B.4 years ago

The habits and values you instill in your children at a young age carry over into adulthood. I learned at a young age to not leave the faucet run while I brush my teeth, to turn off lights in a room when I am not in there, etc. and I STILL do it, purely out of habit! Teach them young, parents!

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad4 years ago

How about just responsible children period!

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Nadine Hudak
Nadine H.4 years ago

how bout just responsible children?

Ann Fuller
Ann Fuller4 years ago

As a grandparent I was told tonight by my grandchildren that I set a good example. That is what we have to do is lead our children and grandchildren along the correct path to look after this word.

John Gray
John Gray4 years ago

As Southern California kids in the 1950's, our entire house became an Eco-center. We were the drop house for the Audobon Society and rehabbed tousands of birds. We also went on week end advetures from mountains to tidepools and my Dad said we got stuck in every sand pit and mudhole in Southern California (while he was off playing golf - what a stupid "game"). I was SCUBA certified in 1957 and of course, diving creates environmentalists - and my Mom preached about global warming and overpopulation in the 50's.

Julie D.
Julie D.4 years ago

In a nut shell, lead by example.

Marie W.
Marie W.4 years ago

The ones who need this most are not reading it!

Liu Wai Ling
Liu Wai Ling4 years ago

It's good.. But human and their parents must do that.

Talya Honor
Tal H.4 years ago

For sure! Thanks!