Teaching Young Children About Sustainability

May 11th, 2021

We all want our children to grow up in a world with clean air, healthy oceans and
forests, and happy wildlife. Teaching our children about sustainability at a young age may seem challenging, but it is an important way that we can make a positive
difference for their future. It is possible for young children to understand what it
means to live sustainably if we can be a positive example and try to introduce them to the values that make up a sustainable lifestyle!

A young child watering a garden

Think local

Having a connection with the place that you come from is very important for young children. Having a sense of belonging can really foster a sense of home and wanting to take care of where we come from.

Teaching our children about where things come from is also a great way to teach
them about sustainability. Showing our children where and how things are made
can be a fun way to get them thinking about where their favourite foods come from, or who made their most loved toys!

Taking our children to local farms, farmer’s markets, or visiting local businesses are also good ways to show them where things come from, and can create lasting
memories. Sharing with them the value of thinking local is an easy and meaningful
way to teach children about sustainability.

mother holding her young child on a cow

Be resourceful

Teaching young children the value of using what you have around you is an
important way to show how we can live a sustainable lifestyle. Try finding old things around the house and making something new! Instead of throwing away old boxes, why not make a cardboard castle?

If you have a green space at home, try getting your little one involved in planting
something to watch it grow! Using your own backyard to grow fruits or veggies is an awesome way to teach young children about being resourceful!

young child playing in a box fort

Be responsible

Teaching children responsibility and intention from a young age is a great way to
show the impact of everything they do. Having a sense of shared responsibility is
important for children to understand that everyone has a role to play in taking care
of our planet.

Responsibility is already something that children are taught from a young age, so it’s a great way to help children understand how they affect the world around them. If they’re old enough, try letting your little one do a fun task around the house so they gain a sense of shared responsibility.

Young child walking through a garden

Be mindful

Teaching sustainability to young children can be challenging! The best way to show young children to be mindful of their impact on the planet is to lead by example.

When at home, teaching children to conserve water, compost, and reuse items are
all ways we can teach our children to be mindful of the resources we use. When out in the world, try to point out Eco-friendly behaviours they can take, like putting waste in the right receptacle or refilling a reusable bottle. Forming habits from a young age is a great way to promote mindfulness and a respect for the environment.

Mindfulness comes from awareness. Watching movies and reading stories with
lessons about the environment and consumption is a fun way to teach them about
sustainability. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a great example! Making sure our children feel inspired and empowered to make a difference is the most important thing.

A backview of a hiker with a small child on their shoulders viewing a beautiful mountain lake scene

Raising awareness in children is an ongoing project, and keeping an open line of
communication with your children about these values is a great way to remind them what it means to think, act and live sustainably. These values can help young children to be mindful of their environment, their role within it, and the kind impact they can have in the world. Teaching young children the values of living sustainably may be easier than you think!


This article was written by Rachel Solway on behalf of Babysits Canada. You can visit this babysitting platform to easily and quickly find a reliable babysitter, nanny and childminder in your area!


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