It’s long been said – and, on occasion, sung – that children are our future. This means that we have an obvious responsibility to ensure a future for our children by reducing our environmental impact (more on that here), and inspiring future generations to do the same. We’ve put together a few suggestions for how you can help your children develop positive, environmentally friendly habits to help set them, and the planet, up for life.
If you’re looking for a way to become more eco-friendly as an adult, get your So Energy quote today.
Go Forth, and Garden
Gardening is a win/win on a number of levels. Not only is it proven to be beneficial to both physical and mental well-being, it can also be a great way to connect your children to nature at a very early age. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a garden, reserve a plot for the kids to experiment with growing their own plants, fruit and vegetables. This is a great start in establishing a bond with the natural world that can produce lasting, positive effects (and free crudités).
If you don’t have access to a garden, why not experiment with indoor plants or herbs to give your children the opportunity to interact with nature? Or, alternatively, search for community gardens or allotments in your area that can furnish an entire family’s worth of thumbs with the chance to become greener.
Compost and Recycle
It’s important to learn at a young age that, just because something has been used, that doesn’t make it useless. By teaching a child what can be composted and recycled, you’re encouraging good habits and awareness that will stick with them for a lifetime. If you don’t have the outdoor space for a large composter, there are a number of smaller, counter-top units (your council might provide these free of charge) that can do a great job instead. Go through each individual item identifying what can be composted and recycled, it’ll eventually become second nature.
Be sure to check with your local council as to the services they offer, you may be pleasantly surprised by the help they can provide.
Make Being Green a Game
There are a number of ways that a little’un can reduce their environmental impact. Turning off the lights or television when leaving a room, stopping the running water when cleaning their teeth, wearing a jumper instead of turning up the heating and a multitude of other small actions can contribute to making a big difference to the energy and water a household consumes. Why not try incentivising these habits? A sticker awarded for each day in which all unnecessary lights are switched off, or some other form of prize, can help to encourage positive behaviour via a bit of healthy, fun competition.
A smart meter with an in-home display can help to make creating this game significantly easier, with real-time information on how much power is being used, and how much it’s costing. Read more about smart meters here.
Borrow, Don’t Buy
Children go through things quickly. Clothes, toys, doors that - until moments ago - you were convinced were closed. It’s for this reason that there’s a rising trend in borrowing rather than buying. Though you may not be aware of it, there could be a toy library in your area that will loan out playthings for your children, thus saving you money and saving the earth from the production of more unnecessary plastics. In addition, utilise your local library for books, DVDs and other media that can save you from making needless purchases.
Lead by example
Do you need to make that journey by car? Shouldn’t you have brought your own bottle for water? Does sir/madam need a plastic bag for this shop? By making changes to your own behaviour, you can inspire your children to make the right choices down the road. Don’t buy paper towels, use washable cloths. Don’t use cling-film, buy a reusable alternative and make sure every member of the family has their own, eco-friendly water bottle - and other eco-friendly products - to help eliminate single-use plastics from your daily life.