Nurture - April 8, 2020

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Honor Earth Day

April 22, 2020, will be the 50th anniversary of the very first Earth Day, which started as a way to unite Americans in the shared goal of protecting our environment. Honoring Earth Day has since taken on a deeper meaning as signs of the environment’s distress have increased over the years. While Greta Thunberg (the 17-year-old environmentalist) has become a household name, she’s not alone in her fight to protect the world—our younger generations have been leading the movement over the last decade. 

Now is the perfect time to teach your child how to be good stewards of the environment. You may find that by helping them honor Earth Day, you spark a passion they carry with them for years to come.

Turn to entertainment

For young kids, the concept of protecting the environment may still be relatively new. That’s where books and movies can come in handy. Here are a few to enjoy together and get the conversation started: 

Choose an animal

Protecting the environment can be a broad and sometimes confusing idea for kids. But helping to protect an animal they love is something most kids can quickly get behind. Start by asking each of your children to pick their favorite animal, whether it be tigers, dolphins, or bears. Then spend some time together researching the impact of global warming and environmental destruction on that particular species. Once they have a better understanding of how important a healthy environment is to these animals they love, talk about ways you can help together—from donating to wildlife funds to helping clean up local habitats. 

Plant a garden

One of the best ways to teach kids respect for the earth around them is to help them cultivate something from that earth. Work together to clear some space in your yard and plant a garden. Let your kids help you pick out what should go in that garden, from flowers they can pick to fruits and veggies they might enjoy eating. Make them a part of the process so that when the literal fruits of their labor start to sprout, they can take pride in what they’ve helped to grow. Talk to them about the benefits plants provide to the environment, as well as the benefits created by growing your food instead of just buying it. 

Start composting

Composting might seem overwhelming, but it can actually be quite easy to start—and it’s a great way to reduce your waste, help your kids be more cognizant of what they throw away, and put nutrients back into the earth. You can even compost from inside if you don’t have a yard. All you need is a compost bin and some red worms to get started (don’t worry, they stick to the compost pile).

Commit to ways to help together

After teaching your kids about Earth Day and the importance of caring for the environment, discuss ways you can help together, and then commit to one or two for the next year. Maybe that means you commit to driving less and walking or biking more. Perhaps it means you commit to walking around your neighborhood with trash bags every month, helping to keep your streets clean and litter-free. Or maybe you commit to building bird feeders for your yard, to shopping local whenever possible, or going technology-free one night a week—lights out and dinner by candlelight, anyone?

The possibilities are endless, which means you don’t have to limit your environmental consciousness solely to Earth Day. Alongside your kids, you can make a difference every day of the year.

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Photography - Kelly Sikkema
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