Teach your children good eco habits

family in parkImage by: freedigitalphotos.net

This week’s eco post comes courtesy of Earthshare.

We all know that introducing good habits is easiest when we’re young, so it is very important for parents and educators to start raising awareness and teaching children about the importance of caring for our planet from a young age. Not only is it about encouraging sustainable habits and supporting a healthy environment, but has the benefit of improving the health of our children.

Start with the basics. Remind children to turn off the lights in the bathroom or any unoccupied room at home and at school. Encourage them to throw away any rubbish they find on the school playground, tell them to use both sides of their notebook paper, and suggest that they save unused art supplies.

Lunch break. Pack kids’ lunches in lunch boxes or bags instead of in throwaway paper – or worse, plastic bags. If you have to use plastic bags, consider re-using them. Be sure the plastic lunchboxes you use are safe, as some plastic lunch boxes contain harmful toxins such as PVCs.

Check out your school’s recycling programmes. Ask whether recycling bins are accessible, and whether the children are encouraged to use them. If they are, be sure your child knows to recycle plastic and glass bottles, as well as paper.

Make smart decisions while shopping. Buy school supplies with less packaging and seek those made with organic or recycled materials. Consider investing in sturdier products – this can ensure years of use from items like backpacks.

Re-use school supplies that are in good condition. When you’re in the middle of exciting back-to-school shopping, sometimes it’s easy to forget about all the items you already have at home that are still in good working condition. Binders, loose leaf paper, pencils and scissors are often only lightly used. Save money and resources by buying only what’s really needed! If you can’t re-use old products, donate them to your school or daycare.

Carpool. If you live somewhere where bus service isn’t provided, start a carpool and take turns with other parents in the neighborhood to drop off and pick up the children. You’ll each save time, energy, and fuel.

Keep children in touch with nature. After-school time used to be about catching bugs, exploring the neighborhood park or woods, making mudpies, and just having a good time running around outside. This has changed dramatically in the digital age and children are less connected to nature, which can cause them to care less about its condition. Instead of allowing children to flop down in front of the TV or computer after school, encourage them to get outside for an hour or two each day. Not much daylight left after the homework’s done? Take a family walk after dinner, and include outdoor activities like walking, biking or hiking in your weekend family time. Studies have shown children who spend more time outside are less likely to be obese, have Attention Deficit Disorder, or be depressed.

Spread the word. Encourage your children to spread their environmental consciousness. They can suggest that their friends pack lunches too so that they can trade items or have a cool reusable lunch bag as well.

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