Kids & Company Blog

Three Simple Ways to Raise Eco-Conscious Children

Good news: Studies show children across the world know that they need to protect the planet. Since being a good eco-citizen starts at home, here are a few things you can do to make sustainability as easy as One-Two-Three. 

If you’re an eco-conscious parent, we have some news you’ll find reassuring: Canada’s youth genuinely care about the environment. (And so do young Americans, as well as Gen Zs around the world.) Research published by Statistics Canada found climate change is a top-five issue on the planet for our youth, and they care about “promoting sustainable practices and engaging in environmental action.” It’s so important to them that many are actively making changes to their behaviours to help protect the Earth. In 2019, more than half Gen Zs (now 11 to 26 years old) were biking, walking and recycling more often. What’s more, 62 percent of our young folks agreed our country has an obligation to be leaders when it comes to addressing climate change. 

For those of us with even younger children, there’s no better time to start incorporating green parenting into our decision-making. (Don’t worry—all this means is that you’re raising your children as eco-friendly as you can, from how they play to what they eat, and you care about reducing your collective carbon footprint.) 

To get you started, we wanted to share a few of the ideas that some of our Kids & Company parents have told us they have started to do in their own households: 

Teach the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you’re a parent who grew up as a younger sibling, or you have more than one child in your home, you’re likely familiar with the art of using hand-me-downs. Of course, you’ll certainly need to purchase new items as a family from time to time, but most parents agree adding some second-hand clothes, furniture, toys and other bits and pieces to your collection is better for the planet…and your pocketbook. Friends, parent groups on social media, thrift shops and the like are great places to find treasures. (Just a reminder: car seats for infants should never be used second-hand.) And when you have an item that’s no longer usable in its current capacity, talk to your children about whether there are other ways to use it—can you fix it? Can it be made into something else? Can you donate it and make another child happy? Ask these questions before tossing things in the garbage (a.k.a. landfills). 

Make play dates with Mother Nature. Allow your children to build a healthy connection with the great outdoors. Plant flowers and sustainable gardens (and encourage

everyone in the home to play a role tending to the fruit and vegetables), pack litter-free picnics and enjoy them in the park, swim in lakes, go on nature walks, explore forests, participate in community cleanups and talk about how important it is to take care of plants and animals. Some of our favorite outdoor activities can be found in the Kidco at Home family resource and include this Tree-Rub activity, Nature Snipping activity, or these Nature-Walk-inspired activities. Not only do activities like these teach children about the planet, but they also cultivate empathy and responsibility. 

Read all about it. If reading one book (or more!) before bed is a cherished ritual in your home, why not include one about the environment? You might be surprised to learn there are a ton of wonderful reads that speak to all age groups in this genre. As you know, books engage the mind, spark meaningful conversation and can leave a lasting impression. Here are 10 recommended titles we’ve heard about from some of our eco-conscious parents: 

  1. Little Turtle and the Changing Sea by Becky Davies 
  2. Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq 
  3. Don’t Throw That Away by Lara Bergen 
  4. What if Everybody Did That by Ellen Javernick 
  5. It’s Up to Us: A Children’s Terra Carta for Nature, People and Planet by Christopher Lloyd 
  6. Little Seed by Benson Shum 
  7. What a Waste by Jess French 
  8. Good to Be Green: Don’t Waste Your Food by Deborah Chancellor One Earth by Ellen Spinelli 
  9. The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord 

These simple ideas don’t cost a lot and they’re actually quite fun—which makes them a win-win. We’d love to hear even more ideas from you—after all, if we all make little changes, our children will inherit a better world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *