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5 Ways to Get Kids to Be More Eco-Friendly

Deciding to live a green lifestyle is easy for adults – you make the decision and then you execute it. But when you add kids into the mix you can quickly find yourself becoming a broken record of, “Turn off that light!” and “Do NOT throw that paper into the trashcan!” Kids, especially young ones, don’t quite grasp the necessity of living an eco-friendly lifestyle, and can have a hard time understanding why they can’t just throw away things in the trashcan like normal and instead have to take the time to evaluate what it is they’re throwing away. Instead of spending your time yelling at them to do things differently, try these five tactics for getting kids to be more eco-friendly:

1.       Make it easier. Instead of having a trashcan in the kitchen and keeping recycling bins in the garage, make it easier for kids by keeping recycling bins in the house. Consider buying a trashcan that has two compartments – one for trash and one for recyclables. Keep two small trashcans in bathrooms and bedrooms so that kids can put trash in one and paper products in the other. When it’s out in the open it’s much easier to remember to separate trash then it is when they have to walk out to the garage to toss recycling items into their appropriate bins. 

2.       Have contests. Hold weekly or monthly contests to see who can collect the most recyclable items. This can include household items and items found outside the house, such as picking up cans found around the neighborhood. Let the winner choose where to eat for dinner one night or give them a 30 minute extension on their normal bedtime. Giving them something to work towards will make them much more aware of what can be recycled and what can’t. 

3.     Start an organic garden together. Take children to the gardening store and let them pick out different produce seeds to plant in a garden and then build an organic garden together. While you garden you can teach them about the importance of organic, locally grown food, the dangers of consuming foods that are full of pesticides, and how beneficial composting can be. They’ll soak up the information and enjoy the time spent outside getting their hands dirty with you. 

4.       Make crafts out of recyclable products. Gather recyclable products like paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, and glass bottles and repurpose them into fun crafts with your kids. While you’re crafting explain why you shouldn’t throw these things away. Make it a game to see who can find the most items to repurpose into new things. 

5.       Start walking or biking to nearby destinations. It may take a little longer to drop your child off at his friend’s house when you walk or bike over there instead of driving the car, but you’ll also cut back on the harmful toxins that are released into the air while you’re driving and you’ll get some fresh air and some exercise.

Regularly talk to your kids about intentionally leading a green lifestyle, and show them by living that lifestyle yourself. They’ll absorb more information than you probably think, and pretty soon these habits will become second nature to them. 

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Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.  He is a regular contributor of “http://www.gonannies.com/”.  You can get in touch with him at [email protected].