President Obama was in Alaska recently discussing the issues of climate change and energy conservation. He noted that we all needed to make changes so that our children won’t inherit a world that’s beyond fixing. But the fact of the matter is, kids already play a role in the health of our environment, and it will only get bigger as they get older.
All of us, including the littlest family members, can do our part to make life a little more eco-friendly. And studies show starting at a young age is the best way to get kids on board with living green.
Childhood Habits Stick Around for Life
Like food choices and exercise, the lifestyle habits that our little ones create when they are young will likely stick with them for life. Recent studies funded by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children can begin forming habits as early as infancy. These habits are likely to stick with a child throughout most of their life. The moral of the story is, the earlier you expose your kids to an eco-friendly lifestyle the better.
Now you may be thinking that your baby is still a little ways away from understanding how recycling differs from the regular trash. While this is true, they are still paying attention to your every move. In the early stages of life they are mirroring what they see you doing. Clearly people at the National Institutes of Health have kids because they have also noted that children don’t create habits on their own. It’s up to the family unit to set a good example and be consistent so that eco-friendly choices at home become second nature.
By teaching our kids to live a green lifestyle early on they’ll be more conscious of how their actions impact the world around them. They’ll also be super motivated to help others green up the way they live so that the cycle continues.
Eco-Friendly Habits All Kids Can Learn
Doctors at the University of Buffalo suggest that parents create an environment at home that supports healthy habits. With the right oversight and information kids of all ages can begin learning to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
One of the biggest impacts consumers can make is choosing to recycle rather than throw everything out in the garbage. Make this easy for kids by keeping a dedicated recycling container in your home. Explain to them what can and can’t go in the recycling, then for the next week or so monitor what they’re throwing out. You can even turn it into a game by having little ones select what goes into the trash versus the recycling after each meal.
Choose an Energy Plan Together
The more kids understand the way energy works and how it’s supplied to their home the easier it will be to help them understand why it can’t be taken for granted. If you live in a deregulated area you can choose your electric provider. This is a great opportunity to get your kids involved by letting them help you pick a provider and plan. They can get a better understanding of the costs and how some providers like EPCOR use renewable resources to create energy.
Keeping lights on when they aren’t needed and keeping electronics plugged in when they aren’t being used can be a serious electricity drain. Vampire energy can add up to 10% of a household’s electric bill. Kids can learn the importance of turning electronics and lights off by making it one of their daily chores. For example, make it a chore that each night before bed they have to check all electronics and lights in their room to make sure they are off and unplugged. You can make this even easier by using a smart power strip that cuts off power to multiple devices at once.
Wasting Less Food
Food waste is the second largest component of landfills. As it rots it releases methane into the environment. Not to mention the eco-footprint of food that has to be packaged and shipped. Kids have no idea how big an impact they make when they toss food out that’s half eaten. Time for composting! Set up a composting station and teach your kids what can be thrown out. Put the composter next to the recycling and regular garbage can so that they are always reminded that there are three places to put waste.