Green Parenting Tips: The Earth’s climate holds paramount significance for human lives and overall well-being. Safeguarding against the adverse effects of climate change necessitates a collective reconsideration of our daily decisions and way of life. The imperative to cultivate an environmentally conscious upcoming generation has never been more pressing. Consequently, UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency have curated expert advice for fostering eco-friendly parenting practices from infancy to adolescence.
Gathering insights from specialists, UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency have amassed a treasure trove of expert recommendations designed to assist parents in nurturing their children through environmentally conscious methods.
Green Parenting Tips for infants and toddlers aged 0 to 3 years
1. Opt for reusable diapers
The average parent uses five to six disposable diapers each day for their infant, and each one ends up in a landfill where it takes one hundred years for it to degrade. Choosing reusable diapers is good for the environment and your wallet at the same time.
For the first six months of a baby’s life, UNICEF recommends exclusively nursing; thereafter, until the age of two, it recommended a combination of breastfeeding and solid meals. Breastfeeding has advantages for both mother and child while also decreasing waste from formula production and packaging and helping to conserve energy.
3. Prepare homemade food for your baby
Food for babies is offered in a range of flavors in pharmacies and grocery stores. While using these options to feed your kid is handy, cooking meals from scratch is not only more economical but also has the potential to be more nutrient-dense. Numerous useful tips may be found online if you want to cut down on preparation time. Make sure to look over the Babycef parenting website’s recipes.
4. Engage in environmentally-friendly laundry practices
A lot of laundry is generated each week when taking care of a newborn at home. Even though it’s unavoidable, you can definitely lessen the effects on the environment. Instead of running numerous smaller loads throughout the day, it is advised to run big loads to maximize your washing machine’s capacity. Additionally, using an eco-friendly detergent and using lower temperatures would significantly reduce the environmental impact.
Green Parenting Tips for kids aged 4 to 6 years
1. Turn off the lighting
Teach your child about energy conservation. It’s crucial that they understand its origin in order to assist them appreciate its significance. Have a discussion about the history of electricity with your child. Encourage them to help you switch off the lights when you leave a room.
2. Bring a pet into your family
Children have strong feelings for animals. Think about being open to the possibility of getting a pet. Fish or hamsters are suitable solutions even if you live in a small flat. You can work together to care for the local wildlife by building bird feeding stations or providing food for dogs and cats. This promotes your child’s mental and physical development in addition to teaching them empathy, planning skills, and a strong sense of connection to nature.
3. Bring a houseplant into your home
A young child of this age has a modest but significant possibility to develop a closer bond with nature through plant care. Daily chores like watering, cleaning up, pruning, comprehending each plant’s needs, and watching them grow establish a special link between your child and nature and foster an appreciation for it.
4. Repurpose previously used garments and playthings
It’s well known that parents frequently find themselves buying a lot of things for their kids, many of which are only used sometimes. Choosing to borrow gently worn clothing and accessories from friends or family can help you save money and reduce waste. Your neighborhood library is a great source of literature. There is an online community of Armenian parents who are willing to trade toys. Make it a yearly ritual to go through clothing and toys, and if necessary, share them with friends or others who could use them.
Green Parenting Tips for children aged 7 to 12 years
1. Cultivate a garden
A small family garden offers great happiness. Your youngster will understand the value of growing their own food and get a deeper respect for environment in addition to having a private green space for recreation. As a result, you’ll not only conserve resources but also aid in reducing the pollution caused by food packaging.
2. Embark on outdoor explorations
Children gain a variety of benefits for their cognitive, physical, and social development when they are among green spaces, which supports their development into responsible, environmentally conscious adults. Introduce your child to the joys of the outdoors by taking them on hikes or nature walks. Picnics and camping holidays both present fantastic chances for shared experiences.
3. Engage in waste sorting as a team
Participating in rubbish sorting with your child can be incredibly motivating. Introduce your youngster to the sorting rules and talk to them about the importance of this activity. By comparing the sizes, shapes, and textures of distinct trash types, you can learn more about them. Spend time sorting recyclable rubbish into the appropriate bins and cleaning it; this will teach your youngster valuable lessons.
4. Unleash your creativity to craft novel items
Every age group of kids enjoys the creative process of creating something new. Recycling that goes beyond merely reusing previously used materials is called upcycling. At this point, students can approach it as a project and plan and investigate appropriately. Waste plastic, polyethylene, and paper can be used to make a wide range of inventive objects. Online, there are countless ideas available. This project will demonstrate to your youngster that there are exciting and creative alternatives to throwing away everything.
5. Reduce the amount of food wastage
Usually, 30 to 40 percent of processed food is wasted rather than eaten. Show your children how to serve food efficiently, create a sense of the value of food, and instruct them on how to properly store leftovers in the refrigerator. Excessive food waste overloads landfills. You can do a great job to save the planet by planning your meals. Buy only what you need and, if food is left over, store it in the freezer.
6. Save water
Despite the fact that water covers 75% of the Earth’s surface, accessible drinking water sources are getting harder to find. The spread of infectious illnesses and droughts are both impacted by this scarcity. Teach your child how to use water wisely. Tell them to take shorter showers and to turn off the faucet while they brush their teeth. Instead of buying bottled water, promote the use of reusable water bottles to transport tap water.
7. Switch off electronic devices
Even when turned off, electric devices continue to use energy. Children can save a lot of energy by being told to disconnect their gaming consoles, computers, chargers, and audio equipment. You’ll be astounded at how your child gets vigilant in monitoring and regulating all the plugs throughout the house as this habit becomes engrained in your family.
8. Promote STEM learning
Support your child’s pursuit of STEM interests if they show an innate interest in science. It’s never too early to begin STEM instruction, despite some educators’ struggles to pinpoint the perfect beginning age. A great strategy is to pique your child’s interest by using enthralling instances from your surroundings.
Investigating scientific topics will help your child better understand the world and provide them the problem-solving abilities they need to deal with the effects of climate change. Outside of the classroom, planning excursions to neighboring observatories, laboratories, or science museums can foster students’ curiosity and learning.
9. Coordinate nature cleanup events with your friends
Participating in group activities is fun and gratifying. Invite your child’s pals to work with you to clean up a specific area of litter in your neighborhood or a nearby park. Include this procedure at the end of each school excursion or family nature outing. These experiences will help your child develop vital cooperation skills, increase their awareness of the environment, and develop a firm opposition to pollution.
Green Parenting Tips for adolescents aged 13 to 16 years
1. Opt for walking or cycling
While driving is quick and convenient, it has a negative impact on the environment. Air pollution is considerably increased by automobile transportation. If your teen’s school is nearby, think about taking a stroll together. If they already go alone, propose biking as a substitute. Cycling and walking are better for the environment and are better for the growth of your children.
2. Engage in conversations about climate concerns and initiatives with your teenager
Encourage your adolescent to ask questions about climate change, even if you can’t always give them quick answers. Teenagers are motivated by a sense of civic responsibility, awareness, and scientific curiosity. Consider joining them in their quest to find answers to difficult questions. Start educating people on where to obtain trustworthy sources of information about climate science while simultaneously addressing the issue of misinformation.
Be careful not to overwhelm them with information, as this could result in excessive emotions or irrational expectations. Here are two English-language resources for your kids to use as they learn about climate change: “Become a Climate Changemaker!” from The World’s Largest Lesson (globalgoals.org) and “A Climate Change Guide for Kids” from The New York Times (nytimes.com).
3. Feel free to allow your teenager to enlighten you about climate change
Your teen may be more knowledgeable about the most recent studies on fossil fuels and climate change-fighting lighting alternatives. We should listen to our kids’ opinions since we can learn from them. All of us must demonstrate the humility to take a step back and evaluate facets of ourselves that we might not frequently examine. Take the time to ask them questions and think about their perspectives, for instance, if your teen has a tendency toward vegetarianism and concerns your regular meat eating. Have a discussion about your decision to become a vegetarian. What’s it like to grow up in a meat-eating family? Can you think of any feasible compromises or solutions?
4. Pass along news articles to your children showcasing their peers making a positive impact
There is a thriving youth climate movement. There are many compelling examples of young people fighting for the future of their generation. Sharing these motivational stories with teenagers can help them feel more appreciated by society and the authorities. Their voices are given more weight by this recognition. Additionally, it motivates youngsters to focus their energy on manageable domains of influence and take positive action in response to their climate-related worries. This change is essential for their mental health because excessive preoccupation with the future and other people’s problems can cause stress and anxiety.
5. Above all, lead by example
“Don’t teach your kids; they’ll imitate your behavior. Encourage yourself. Throughout your parenting journey, keep in mind this English adage. Your children will naturally grow to appreciate the world if you embrace environmental awareness and care for nature.