How to teach ecological values to children
Improving environmental awareness and acquiring sustainable and ecological behaviors is now a necessity for our planet. It is crucial that children, from an early age, learn to respect and value nature, behave responsibly with energy resources and waste, but as parents we have the responsibility to teach our children values and habits ecological.
The love for nature will lead them to appreciate the whole natural world and to contribute to its conservation. Through environmental education, children assimilate civic awareness, a sense of responsibility and care, fundamental values for their future and that of our planet.
5 ways to educate in ecological values
The importance of contact with nature
Children feel love for nature and living beings in an innate way, with curiosity and affection for the plants and animals that they see around them from an early age. We cannot love what we do not know, so it is essential that as parents in the task of educating them to environmental values we take them to open spaces where they can appreciate nature.
If they can see animals in their natural habitat, the need for water and clean air for plants to survive, this will help them understand how nature works and what are the best ecological actions to preserve natural areas. Leaving the house without thinking about television and computers to take a family walk in the open air, play in parks or squares, will serve to teach children to appreciate the environment and make them determined to preserve it.
School activities organized to learn about life in agricultural contexts, where they can learn more about animals and the earth’s resources, are very positive for our children. These outdoor activities are good for understanding the importance of protecting the environment but also for their development.
The origin of food
Sowing seeds, discovering how plants grow and seeing their food grow, teaches children to appreciate the food on the table. We can encourage them to plant seeds and take care of the plants, so that they themselves understand how from a small seed grows a plant that can carefully give flowers and fruit. In this, the school gardens that many schools are creating for their students are very important, but it is also a good idea to take them to markets and fairs where they can make direct contact with the origins of food.
Explain with practical examples
Environmental education focuses on issues that are quite abstract and intangible for children: pollution, the ozone hole, the Earth’s resources and things like that. Teaching care for the environment should focus on a series of habits and practices that are respectful for the planet. As parents we will have the role of guide, explaining with words but above all giving the example in first person with the daily gestures of a sustainable lifestyle.
Our task will be to make children understand that the health of the world depends on each of us, but always with practice. It is difficult for a child to understand the concept of deforestation, but he can understand that trees are used to make paper and if we use little of them to make drawings, then we too contribute to fewer trees being cut.
Teaching to save water and energy
At home we can put into practice many good actions for the environment, because at home we teach the importance of saving energy and water in our daily habits. No one better than us can set the correct example: if we don’t behave responsibly with the lights in the house and the water from the taps, neither will they.
We must explain to our children that it is necessary to turn off the lights in the rooms that are not used, that we should not have the TV on when no one is watching it and that it is better to disconnect electronic devices in standby if not if we do not have to use them. Water is essential for any form of life on the planet, we show them how it is best to use it for washing, cleaning, cooking, drinking, opening the tap only for the necessary, without wasting it when we take a shower or flush the toilet.
Teaching to recycle
When children are involved in something, they really want to get to work. Committing themselves and taking on new responsibilities makes them feel useful and important, they like it when we appreciate them and recognize the contribution they make. However small things may be, children believe in what they do and as parents who want to educate them in ecological values we must remember this when we involve them in the daily activities of the house.
Recycling can be fun and accessible even for little ones. Separating plastic, paper, bottles, cans and explaining the difference between one and the other, putting everything in its own container, can be a pleasant practice. We can decorate the waste containers together with the children, making drawings for each material, so that every time you throw something in the garbage, it is easy for them to know where it goes.
They are also perfect activities to do with them making things with recycled material, using paper, packaging and containers to make decorative items, costumes and simple games.
In each of these tips, parents should be models to follow as an example for their children, with habits and gestures towards the environment. We are responsible for their education and if we want them to have certain values, we must be good at making them understand the importance of nature and to preserve it.