A new member in the family is always cause for celebration and great enthusiasm. There is nothing like having a child to make parents more aware than ever of their daily habits and activities. For the baby’s sake, they quit smoking and drinking coffee, buy life insurance, and refurbish every space, even the kitchen, to make it a safer place for the newcomer.
Day-to-day decisions turn completely around and take on another meaning: is this shampoo good for the baby? Is the paint on the walls not toxic? Will the clothes cause allergies? How many germs will the toys he touches have?
It is in this series of questions that a great question comes to the mind of each father loaded with a little guilt and concern. Will the world be a better place to live when he grows up?
Probably not, or maybe yes, we don’t know that, but what we are sure of is that childhood is the best stage to prepare this little one and instill in him the care and respect for the planet that he has for home so that when he grows up, It really is a better place for everyone.
In order to prepare a “mini-guide” for parents, we will review the actions that can be encouraged in each great stage of children starting with:
1. The early years
At this stage your child is just beginning to explore the world and gradually becomes aware of his surroundings, help him appreciate nature by taking walks, and taking him to the playground in the park. He allows her to play with leaves, branches, seeds and grass, collect some and take them home so she can draw a picture or paste the elements forming a kind of collage. Another good exercise is to plant your first seed and watch how little by little it grows. They can do this activity in the garden of the house or a park, it will be extremely attractive for him to see how week after week, thanks to his care, that little plant grows together with him. Among other activities, is to visit a national park or an ecological reserve, ask him about the animals, where do you think they come from? What do they do? because they are important? Ask him to turn off the lights in the room when they go out, to brush his teeth to use a glass for water, teach him that what is new is not necessarily the best, to value and take care of his toys.
2. In elementary school
The first years at school, your child is much more aware of the world, and also learns to read and write, which opens the panorama to endless information and knowledge. At school, the study of “science” focuses on the natural world: plant and animal species, create dynamics with them so that this does not stay in the books but becomes experiences, take them camping. Natural disasters become extremely attractive topics, explain the reasons and the danger that the species you like the most are in because of problems such as climate change and pollution. Educate them in housework, for example, to separate and take out the garbage, make compost, children love to get their hands dirty and play with dirt. When you go shopping, ask him where he thinks things come from? What are they made of? What do you think was necessary for them to reach your hands? Put buckets on the roof and garden in the rainy season, then use them to play
3. The pre-teen years
During these years, children develop critical thinking and begin to be more independent. At school they help them implement the scientific method in many of their reasoning, gather information, generate a hypothesis, experiment and draw conclusions. Help them apply this reasoning to calculate and understand the impacts of their lifestyle on the planet, the model of unlimited needs and limited resources and it is no longer a theory, but a reality that must be understood. Encourage them to have extra-curricular activities like playing sports. If they help you wrap Christmas gifts, make it with recycled materials, that they prefer to consume locally, etc.
Teenagers are full of energy and enthusiasm, they just need a little help getting them on track. Make them aware that they are agents of change, with the power to change many things that they know are wrong. Once they understand the causes and effects of environmental problems, encourage them to create their own projects to solve them: organizing groups, defending their ideals, expressing their nonconformity, being responsible consumers.
There is no school for parents, and from what I have been told, it is not an easy thing, but let us try to educate happy, healthy, respectful and, above all, responsible human beings.
Source: Diario Ecologia by diarioecologia.com.
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