Maybe you're already a composting-pro shopping at farmers markets with your canvas bags for foods you don't already grow yourself, or maybe you're a busy parent trying to find a balance between all this talk of straws and plastics and oceans and your own personal convenience. Both are fine! And wherever you identify, there are many ways to get our kids to be a little more eco-conscious.
It's All in the Family
As with most things, modeling behavior is the best teacher. We try and teach our kids respect and concern for the outdoors, shop with reusable grocery bags, and use green household cleaners, often homemade from common products like vinegar or baking soda, etc.
A little tongue in cheek, but something we say to remind ourselves to say no to single use plastics, with a big emphasis on straws and plastic bottles. The kids have had to pitch in by filling up their reusable water bottles before school and getting creative with containers to pack their lunches in. "Your legs aren't painted on," was something my parents said to me often - usually met with eyes rolled and defiance, but I have definitely reused this little quip to emphasize that many places are within walking (or biking/scootering) distance and when we can walk, we should! Not only for our air quality (that we breathe into our lungs) but for a bit of exercise as well! And speaking of reusing things...
Pass It On
Many things can be saved and donated or even bought second hand. Kids are consuming pros and looooove to buy new things! (just mine?)
Encouraging hand-me-downs, even organizing a neighborhood swap can be a good way to go green as well as easy on the budget! I have found with my kids, new-to-you is usually just as good as brand spanking new.
There are few resources as precious as water and learning to conserve it can be tricky. Encouraging shorter showers, not baths, turning off the water to brush teeth and wash hands and keeping sprinkling systems on a timer are all things kids can do and help with. Try a vacation like camping for a few nights where you have to filter water, travel to its source, or pack it all in to illustrate just how vital water can be and why we need to make sure we always have it!
I don't claim to have the greenest kids on the block, but we are trying to at least have the conversation! Any start is a good start. Small changes matter. Teaching our kids to respect and care for what they have in any aspect will ensure its survival (and theirs).