The Family Home Blog

Eco-friendly Habits For Kids

Aug 04, 2016
Scarlet Paolicchi

blue recycling bin 

The most powerful eco-friendly changes that we can make are often small habits. Because they are everyday actions, they really add up over time. If you teach children eco-friendly habits, it can have a huge impact over the course of their lives. Most children love to learn, especially when it is learning by doing. Here are a few eco-friendly habits that you can teach your kids to show them how their actions can impact the environment.

You might notice that some of this advice looks familiar, and that’s because getting the basics right is so important. If we teach our children the fundamentals of living an eco-friendly life, the more complex ideas will come much easier. All of these habits are best taught by example, so make sure you practice them yourself!

  1. Turn off lights
    Make sure to always turn off the lights when leaving the room. This eco-friendly habit will save money and energy.
  2. Don't waste water
    Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Turn off the hose when you are done using it. Don’t have the faucet run constantly when you’re washing dishes. These commonsense behaviors are an important part of not wasting our valuable resources.
  3. Recycle
    Before you put it in the trash, always think, "can I recycle this?" Recycling is a great way to reduce the need for new raw materials and to reduce landfill space. Your local sanitation department will have guides on what your city does and doesn’t accept.
  4. Play outside
    Instead of spending too much time in front of the TV, or using electronics that suck energy resources, play outside. Use your imagination. Be creative. Learning to enjoy nature is a big part of taking joy in preserving it.
  5. Reuse things
    Instead of throwing things out, think about ways to reuse them. Can you think of a creative way to reuse that shoe box? Maybe that empty tea canister could hold your cat treats. Maybe you could trade something you no longer need with a friend.
  6. Use both sides of a sheet of paper
    In their school notebooks, it is a good practice for kids to use both sides of a sheet of paper. To take it a step further, they can use the back side of printed materials as scrap paper or to draw/paint. To instill good habits, I make sure to keep a scrap paper pile in a prominent location and use it for things like grocery lists or taking notes.
  7. Create a craft box
    A craft box is an excellent way to store things that can be used again in future projects. Having a place to store odds and ends makes it more likely that things like old buttons, fabric scraps and bottle caps will be reused.  Another benefit is that you can send your child to the craft box and let them be creative when they are bored. If at first your kids don't know what to do, challenge them to do something like, "use these supplies to make a mobile." If your craft box is low on material, you can task your kids to fill it with things that can be reused.
  8. Wear clothes more than once
    Kids have the mentality of wearing things only once before washing them. I teach my kids that socks and underwear always need to washed after being worn (of course!), but the rest of their wardrobe should be folded and put away to use again unless it stained or stinky. This helps save water, energy and washing detergent. Explaining to kids how their actions benefit the environment is a big part of getting them on board with adopting eco-friendly habits.

These eight eco-friendly habits for kids will really add up over time and are the basis for thinking in a greener way that will lead toward other conservation choices.

Do you model these behaviors for your kids and talk about the benefits of green choices?

Photo courtesy of Scarlet Paolicch.

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