Teach your kids about greening their lives

Use fun things to do to with which to teach your kids about making the environment better

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

There are many things we can all do to teach our kids to live greener lifestyles. Children look at their parents and tend to do and copy what they do. If you are conscious of the environment and are into being green your children too will tend to naturally want to go green. They may even be greener than you but need help in how to do some things.

Still, we know they have a lot to learn but they won't listen to demands. Demands don't work especially not if we ourselves are not too consistent in our actions.

Therefore we must find innovative and creative ways to teach our children to live greener. But we also must set an example. It is not good telling them to do this or that when we, their examples do not so it.

Find ways by which to teach your kids about how to make the environment a better place, while making it fun and creative.

Use re-usable bags for shopping and let the kids decorate them and take them with them to the grocery store to show them off. This saves the use of plastic bags. You could also have them make their own bags; designs can be gotten from “morsbag.com” and they can be tailored even to make small grocery bags. An old pair of denims can be converted well.

Turning off the lights when leaving the bedroom or bathroom is a great way to save energy and electricity. This is a simple and easy thing children can do and you could make them even overseers of the “turning off the light” project. A great deal of electricity can be saved by the simple act of turning lights off in rooms and places where there is no one.

While baths and bath time may be fun, taking a shower, on the other hand, saves three to seven times more water. If you can get them used to it see whether they can take a cold or tepid shower rather than a hot one. Saves energy that way too. Reward them for speed and for taking cooler showers with some fun things.

Many people, too many, in fact, leave the tap running while they are brushing their teeth. Why they do this beats me. It is such a wasteful practice and and unnecessary one. A good thing to remember is never to do that as it is so wasteful. This is agreat idea to share with your kids. Water is becoming so scarce, even in the developed world because of the way that we waste it, and not just in our homes, that someday in the not so distant future there will be water wars. Let your kids know that they should always try to conserve water. Explain to them the value of water to insure that they know of its importance and of turning on the tap only when they are rinsing out their mouths. Even better give each an unbreakable beaker which they fill with water and which they use to rinse their mouths with. Being Gypsy born and bread and having grown up on the road for a great part of my childhood I kn ow how valuable water is when you don't have access to it, as people who live in house do.

Kids should also understand not waste food, and by teaching them to finish what is on their plates, they are also helping the environment become greener. Whether, however, the kind of claptrap that was used with children during my childhood – though never amongst us (food was scarce and you did not waste it) – of telling kids not to waste their food for millions of starving kids would be glad to have what is left oin their plates. Ensure that you do not heap their plates in such a manner that they cannot finish what is on their plates. Small portions with the ability to go for more.

Wasting food is bad for the Earth as it wastes Her resources and should not be done and even children, and maybe especially children, will understand that quite well if presented in a proper manner.

Make breakfast, lunch and dinner fun and enjoyable and let the kids join in. Teach the children also to cook and to cook from scratch using leftovers too.

Instead of driving your children to school, take turns carpooling the kids to school with other parents, walk or use bicycles. In these ways, the parents are improving the air quality by reducing the carbon emissions, and the kids get to enjoy some special time with their friends or you before school.

Or take the other option, if you can, and homeschool your children. That way the school trip is from the bedroom to the kitchen or living room (or a special, set aside, room as school room in the house or on the property).

Taking a walk to the library and local store is a great way of reducing carbon emissions and teaching your children that nature and fresh air are beautiful. Using a bicycle if the distance is a little farther is another good way of doing things.

In Holland, Germany and Denmark it is common to see parents using cargo bicycles, such as the Kristiania ones made in the Kristiania Commune just outside of Copenhagen, with the children sitting in the cargo box in the front and there are even some bicycles especially made to ferry children in that they have seats in their.

However, you also find younger children being ferried to school and all over the place just on a variety of child seats for the bicycle and when they are older they are using their own bikes together with parents and siblings.

Give a child a bike and you give him or her the freedom to explore and of adventure and it is something that could be an addiction for life. It certainly was for me and I never actually went into driving as a passion the way it is from some people. My passion has remained the bicycle.

Children that have come to understand how much better cycling is for them and the Planet may eventually not even bother with the motorcar. Not that, in the not so distant future, if things happen the way they appear, there will be any more cheap abundant oil available to use the motorcar anyway.

Teach your kids to recycle. Start them with old newspapers, magazines, toys, Christmas and birthday cards. Put a recycling bin by the door and each time your child puts something in for recycling let them know what a good job they have done in helping the environment become greener.

More important, however, teach your children to reuse and repurpose and upcycle. Teach them to make things from what others regard as waste and recyclables. A tin can or two as pencil bin for their desk, other empty containers for storage of small things, etc.

Instead of turning up the heat in the home when it is cold, let your kids be stylish and add on some extra layers of clothes instead. And, when it is too warm in summer don't crank up the AC. Instead let them shed their clothes and go naked. Nothing wrong with that. You children complain they cannot sleep at night because it is too warm; let them get naked. It works. It is so much more comfortable than with clothes, and the same goes for being around the house and the property in the heat of summer, especially when it is a humid heat.

I know that there will be some that won't agree with that solution but it does indeed work and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with it. God made us without clothes and for centuries and centuries it was common for us and our children not to wear anything in the heat of summer.

Buying ripe fruit in season and using the remains for compost is something you can teach your children. The compost is a great way in making our soil richer. Instead of gardening by yourself, let your kids join in and have some fun with it.

Teaching children where there food comes from is an important lesson to teach then and there is no better way of doing that by letting them do gardening. Give them their own little patch of a small raised bed area, like in the square foot gardening idea, and with them decide what they want to sow and grow.

Children that grow their own vegetables, their own green, also eat them and that more often than not with gusto.

Instead of drinking soda pop and other unhealthy drinks, which are unhealthy for you, your kids and the Planet, get them into drinking tap water. Yes, tap water; not bottled water. Get them a reusable bottle for school – if you do not homeschool – and for trips. Ensure that this is stainless steel bottle or a shatterproof glass bottle. Even so-called BPA-free plastic may not be healthy, as scientists have shown in February 2011, and still have oestrogen mimicking chemicals leaching into the drink. Tap water is cool and, obviously, you will have to lead by example.

This is just a small collection of ideas and I am sure you will be able to think of some of your own.

Children are often better in their concern for the Planet than we grown ups seem to be and their engagement puts many of us adult to shame. I guess we both can teach each other.

© 2011