Kermit the Frog may not think it’s easy being green, but parents can do something to change that. Here are some ways parents can go green and help their child grow up to be eco-friendly.
1. Walk the walk—and talk the talk. Model and explain.
Children learn their earliest habits from what they see and what they hear. Parents should be their models for green behavior. Learn to be advocates of conservation by turning off the lights when you leave the room, throwing trash in its proper place and only using as much water as needed in a given situation.
Don’t forget to pair your actions with a little explanation. A 2007 paper from the Learning Research and Development Center at University of Pittsburgh shows that children who received explanation from their parents were able to grasp concepts instead of just procedures.
“Talk about issues the environment faces. Decide the changes you will make in your home and lives,” recommend teacher-mothers Jacquelyn Trumbull and Ty Bricker, founders of Growing Up Green (www.growingupgreen.org), a children’s eco-consciousness program.
2. Start a garden together.
“Start a garden together whether it’s in your yard or on your kitchen window sill. This is a family activity that brings you together,” says Jacquelyn. “Let your children pick the veggies or herbs and everyone then shares responsibility in taking care of it and enjoying it.”
3. Add in the fun: Turn Recycling and Sorting into a Game
Amp your child with mental skills while helping Mother Earth. Turn recycling and sorting into a game. “Have challenges in the home; for example, see who can create something only using old materials,” says Jacquelyn.
Rita Stapleton of EcoHearth found out this technique works especially well when parents work with more than one child. Older children can mentor their younger siblings, empowering them to take personal responsibility. “It took only a few weeks for my children to get the hang of what items can be recycled versus what constitutes trash… Now they are pros.,” Rita writes. “The two youngest children are now taking pride in teaching our 18-month-old where to put the trash.”
Earn a little cash in the process as well by checking local malls for recyclables fairs. SM has a “Trash to Cash” program, while Ayala Malls have their Recyclables Fair.
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