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How to Teach Your Kids to “Go Green”

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The “go green” movement promotes a healthy respect for the environment and sustainable energy, and it’s a trend that combats some of the world’s major challenges. Even if the movement is temporary, going green may just be enough to make a lasting positive impact upon future generations.

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There are many ways to encourage your children to go green without sounding as if you are preaching to them—for example, many children grew up with an interest in recycling and saving the rainforests before it became a trend. Here are some of the best ways to encourage your kids to join in the fun.

Get outside!

Children will likely respect the planet more if they are more in touch with nature. In this age of technology, children are now beginning computer classes in kindergarten! This type of education may breed little geniuses and mini versions of Bill Gates, but using technology generally staying indoors.

Determine whether you need to set a schedule for technological fun—some parents try to get their children outside by limiting the amount of time they can use their tablets. Although this idea is effective, it reinforces the idea that technology is fun. Outdoor playtime should be viewed as a positive pastime, not a chore, so try to use outdoor activities as rewards for good behavior. For example, public parks often have classes for kids, from painting trees with water to taking part in neighborhood sports. Give children a reason to get excited about what the outside world has to offer.

Raise awareness of the need to practice sustainability

The zoo is another great way to educate children about the planet and motivate them to go green in the home. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has its own indoor rainforest, complete with thunderstorms and creatures from around the world. Deforestation and other current issues are addressed at the end of each tour, which encourages young people to get involved.

One of the easiest ways to create an interest in the environment inside is through indoor pets. Reptiles, fish, and other creatures educate children about natural habitats. You may be surprised by how concerned your child seems to be about the current state of rice patties in China once they see it as the hometown of a beta fish. You can also involve your children in using sustainable light sources inside the home—down to the type of light you choose for your pet. The Global Healing Center suggests utilizing full spectrum or LEDs (light emitting diode) lights, as the CFL fluorescent lights that many homes use for “green” lighting can alter your circadian rhythms.

Reduce waste by playing favorites

Do you have a favorite travel mug you take to work in the mornings? Show your kids how fun it is to find a cup they can always use. Shop together for their own special water bottle or container that they can take to school for lunch every day. Show the kids how to value things that have longevity—doing so prevents a great deal of waste and even cuts household costs.

Finally, ask your children whether they need certain outgrown clothing items or toys. If your child is ready to part with some of these extra things, then show exactly where the items can go and the benefits they can provide. Taking your child with you to donation bins or shelters lets them see how others live and how they can help. Going green can bring out compassion in your children that you may not have expected to see at such a young age.

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