It's important to take care of the environment so that people will be able to live healthy lives for years to come. Many people focus on installing environmentally-friendly structures and appliances into their homes, such as solar paneling and energy efficient dishwashers. While these measures are helpful, they can also be expensive. They also don't address the practical, daily habits you can engage in to help protect the environment. There are several things you can do and teach your children to do that can help protect the health of the environment.
Avoid Unnecessary Use of Resources
When living with children, two of the resources that often get wasted are water and electricity. Children can be taught to conserve these resources in order to help the environment. Teach your children simple rules like this:
1. Look around the room before leaving it. If you see lights, television sets or other things on that nobody is using, turn them off.
2. Get all of your bath things together before you turn on the shower or bathtub. If you forget something, turn the water off while you go get it.
3. Don't turn on the air conditioner or the heater unless you try other solutions for your temperature first. Try taking off or putting on clothes to help yourself feel more comfortable in the house instead of turning on appliances.
Recycle Things Into Art Projects
Recycling is another important part of protecting the environment. An excellent way to teach recycling habits is to reuse objects that you might ordinarily throw away. Kids will have fun making sculptures and other art projects out of cans, bottles and jars. For example, you could have them help you wash out empty peanut butter jars and then allow them to wrap the jar in whatever paper they want or decorate it however they'd like. These kinds of projects teach kids the importance of limiting the amount of trash they throw away and that things have other uses. After your kids have made a few art projects, talk to them about recycling and explain that another way to recycle is to put cans, newspapers and jars into special bins where they can be taken to be reused.
Create Child-Friendly Sorting Systems
Once your children understand the concept of recycling, make it easy for them to help. Have your child help sort recyclables from trash after each meal, for example. You might also want to create a sorting system for your child. If you have a recycling bin as well as a trash can, put labels on the recycling bin listing the things that go in it. If your child cannot yet read, use pictures in the labels. Make sorting recyclable materials fun and interesting so that your child will enjoy this activity.
Carpool With Other Students
If your child's school isn't in walking distance or you don't feel it's safe to let them walk alone in your neighborhood, arrange carpools with the parents of other students. This helps save on carbon emissions and allows your children the opportunity to socialize on the way to and from school. Explain to your child that you carpool in order to make sure that less cars are on the road.
You might also allow your child to ride a school bus instead of driving them. Of your school offers busing, having your kids take the bus is a great way to teach them the importance of taking public transportation whenever possible.
Teach Kids to Run Dishwashers and Washing Machines Only When Full
Many parents have their kids do the dishes or the laundry so that they can learn to be self-responsible. This offers a great opportunity to teach about conservation. Teach your children to look at how full the machine is before running it. Make a rule that if the machine has less than a certain number of items in it, it should not be run. This teaches kids to save water and electricity, and they'll love feeling like they "got out of work" at times when all they have to do is put items in the machine without running it.
There are lots of ways you and your children can help the environment. Teaching kids good environmental habits is fairly easy because you can make a game out of most of these habits. As long as children are entertained and feel like they are helping, they will be happy to do their part to help save the environment.
Rebecca Brown is an avid blogger for NQ Mobile on Bloomberg, keeping people working towards saving the planet.