While the nation recognizes our glorious earth this day once a year, it’s a great opportunity to teach your children about being stewards of the environment. Start by being a role model and practicing recycling and reducing your waste whenever you can. This teaches them moderation, appreciation, responsibility and a love for the outdoors. Here are some easy ways:
What you can do right now:
- Talk to your children about nature, the planet and the difference between urban and city environments.
- Visit a park. Local, state or national, explain to them how this space is reserved for nature and for us to enjoy and care for.
- Watch a nature program on television or video.
- Read a book about recycling or our planet earth.
What you can do everyday:
- Recycle at home. Teach them the different things you can recycle and what kinds of things you can’t. I give my sons the task of putting recyclables in the bin.
- Look for recycling bins when you are out and about. My 5-year-old feels so strongly about recycling that he brought his empty lunch sack and juice box home from a field trip because the place did not have a recycling pickup. His teacher was so amazed he even thought of this that she let him do it.
- Minimize water waste. Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth and when you’re sudsing up your hands, to start. Do only full loads of laundry. My oldest son has favorite clothes he would wear nearly every day if I let him. When he find out they are in the dirty clothes pile, he asks me to wash them. I’ve explained to him that I only do the wash when the pile gets a certain size (big enough to fill the washer).
- Turn off the lights. And electronics. When not in use, they go off.
- Start a compost. You can do this inside or outside. Use it as a science experiment. Kids love watching what happens.
- Plant a garden. I let my kids help me plan what to plant. We talk about how long the fruits, vegetables and herbs take to grow and they help me water and weed the garden during the process. It also makes for an easier time getting them to eat healthy fruits and vegetables if they are the ones growing them.
No age is too young to begin hearing about what you are doing and how important taking care of the planet is. My sons are 2 and 5. I’m so proud that my 5-year-old already cares enough to pick up litter and is already inventing things to make out of recyclables.
—Sarah Jo Sautter, Blog Editor and Publisher