When it comes to living a bit lighter on the planet, I’ve realised that raising eco-conscious kids is a really big part of what I can contribute. As with all of my parenting, I certainly don’t always get it right, but there are a few approaches that I’ve found to be really useful:
- Explain the why: From a very young age, I’ve taken the time to explain to my children why we make the sustainable choices we do as a family. Not only does it help their understanding, but I also find it’s a great way to keep reigniting and reconnecting me with my own purpose.
- Other perspectives: I’ve found that watching movies and documentaries together can be a great way to gain other perspectives and create conversation with my kids. From The Lorax to David Attenborough, family viewing experiences will always generate great dinner time chats.
- Include them on the journey: We make any decisions about our sustainable lifestyle as a family. Involving the kids in the decision making process and giving them some level of ownership has been a game changer. When we were deciding what to do with our food scraps, the kids loved the idea of a worm farm. They help look after it and love taking a jar full of worms to pet day!
- Less is more: Despite a trillion dollar marketing industry trying to convince us all to buy more for our kids, I’ve learnt that having less actually brings out the best in my children. They are noticeably calmer in less cluttered spaces, and the less they have, the more creative they are with it, and the more they value it. Whether it’s toys, clothes, or electronics – they are still tempted by things. When they want something, we write it on a list. We have conversations about instant gratification and making choices and then revisit the list when the time is right.
- Let go: As my kids get older and are making their own decisions, I’ve learnt that I need to be able to let things go! I don’t shelter my children from experiences that might not align with our sustainability ethos. I think it’s more important for them to be exposed to things and learn how to navigate them. We just discuss things, reflect on decisions and also embrace the philosophy of not needing to be perfect.