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5 Eco-Friendly Practices to Teach Children at Home

When it comes to green living, sustainability is the most vital step yet the most difficult challenge.

Making one change one time is a great start, but impactful change comes from these changes repeated until they become habits.

While most of the time the focus is on us as citizens to be environmentally conscious. We sustain throughout our lives eco-friendly habits. Among the many decisions we can make, perhaps the most powerfully sustainable habit is setting up the next generation for success.

Our children will be expected to build upon the foundation we establish. The best way to prepare them for this task is to shape their thinking through teaching. Children learn by example, it’s important to set the right one.

It starts at home. Here are some habits you can teach that lead to green sustainability.

Water conservation

This is perhaps the simplest habit to instill in toddlers as they grow into young children. Brushing their teeth, hand washing, and bathing are daily occurrences that all use running water.

Help by teaching them smart ways to perform these tasks while saving water. Have them turn the faucet off while brushing or scrubbing, and use only the water necessary to rinse. Keep showers short, praise them for not running excessive water.

Teaching good habits surrounding the handling of laundry can also help drive down water usage. It is estimated that 22% of indoor water use comes from washing laundry. Help them manage their dirty clothes in a way that build appropriate size load for your washing machine.

Energy Reduction

Children can consume a lot of energy (not just from the parents!). Turning lights on, electronics charging, televisions, piles of laundry needing to be washed.

As an adult, purchasing energy efficient appliances can reduce the electrical power consumed by lights and devices. Smart washers, smart TVs, LED lighting equipped with motion sensing all can bring down the output of an average home.

In lieu of these investments, teaching some simple practices can curb energy use. Lights off when not in the room, electronics off when not in use. When it is at the top of mind, children are more likely to build a routine.

We have become increasingly aware of carbon emissions and their impact. There is a vast array of transportation options to teach children about. Short distances can be traveled by foot or bike, both of which double as healthy outdoor activities. Familiarize them with the bus, and its similarities to a carpool. For general transportation, the gold standard in eco-friendly transport remains the energy efficient car. From hybrids to full-fledged electric there is no shortage of options. There are many lessons our children learn from us regarding automobile use and care. As greener cars become more commonplace our children will learn their benefits and impact.

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Waste Management

Arguably the most recognized form of eco-friendly actions is recycling. From integration into city waste ordinance to the countrywide focus on recycling. Despite awareness, the EPA estimates that we only recycle around 30% of waste that is able to be recycled. 

A combination of trash, recycling, and composting (food grade items) forms a new way of disposing of waste in an environmentally friendly manner. 

It’s important to teach children the different items that belong to each method of disposal. Set up bins in the kitchen and show them examples of throwing away trash.

Make a game out of it, make it fun. Lead by example, encourage them to throw their own waste away in the proper bin. When they get used to regularly managing their garbage, it becomes second nature when at home or in public.
The Impact Of Their Choices
While this is not an “eco-friendly” concept this is an important one. Kids often ask “why?” They have a core curiosity about the world around them that parents have to satisfy. 

In order for children to truly understand, teach them the “why” of the choices they make. Answer questions about energy conservation, or water use. Explaining in very simple terms will both satisfy their need for knowledge and show them that the decisions they are making truly make a difference.

As parents, it is an inherited responsibility to foster the growth of our children up until their adult life. We teach them about love, life, and education. Using some of these practices as part of daily life, conservation and concern for the environment give us true sustainability to pass down through generations.

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