4 Ways to Teach Your Children to Respect the Environment

Whether you’re planning on going on a camping trip and want to avoid the crowds or you are taking you children on a day trip to walk around the local woodland, you’ve probably spent plenty of time outdoors recently (when the weather behaves, anyway). For some children this will have made them more comfortable with being outside, especially younger children who may not have had as much exposure before. If they are showing a passion for being outside they also need to respect the environment, so here are some tips to channel your inner David Attenborough and inspire them. 

Baldwins pond in Loughton

How To Teach Your Children To Respect The World Around Them

Let Them Experience The Outdoors 

Your children will never get used to the wonders of the great outdoors if they can’t fully experience the great outdoors. Even if you are just letting them loose in your back garden to enjoy the benefits of mud play (seriously), it’s always worth giving them the chance to get outside whenever possible. 

Allowing this helps them interact with nature. They can smell it and feel it, they can see insects and creatures squirming through the ground, and although it can get messy, the benefits vastly outweigh the negatives. 

Show Them How You Enjoy Nature 

If your children don’t seem as willing to get outside and embrace nature as you’d hoped, it might be that they need a little encouragement. My children have never been able to resist climbing trees in the forest and a natural playground like The Stickman or Gruffalo Trail is a great introduction to this. Showing them how much you enjoy nature, whether hiking somewhere beautiful, going fishing with carp reels, or even just relaxing in the back garden, it will inspire them to try it themselves. While some people might find fishing cruel the time it takes can actually teach children to respect the food they eat and where it comes from. 

At a young age children will always look to their family for inspiration, so you should make the most of this adoration while you still can and take the opportunity to show them how much fun you can have outside. 

Be a Role Model 

Besides merely enjoying the world around you, it’s also important for you to show children how to take care of the environment. This means you need to take an eco-friendly approach to life, and there are plenty of ways for parents to be more eco-friendly, including recycling, avoiding unnecessary waste, or even making sure you don't drop litter. 

When outside make sure you follow the Countryside Code as well as local bylaws and help children understand them too. “Take only photographs, leave only footprints” is a great way to summarise. It’s so important children are encouraged to not harm the natural world for instance not picking or damaging plants; bluebells that are trampled on for instance can take years to recover.

As your children learn everything from you, being a model for environmental friendliness will rub off on them more effectively than you think. 

Show Them Different Ways to Care for the Environment

Caring for the environment isn’t just about putting rubbish in the bin or recycling suitable materials. There are many other ways that people can do their part for the planet, so don’t forget to show your children what they can do. 

Different children will prefer different things. Some will want to get their hands dirty, so show them volunteering opportunities to clean up the local area. If that’s not something they are interested in, consider programmes or movies that show them there are other options out there. Many areas run Forest School sessions for younger children which is a great way to show them others their age enjoying being outside and teach them skills.

The Future

Every time someone learns how to look after the environment, the world becomes a better place. If you can teach your children to love the world around them and show them how to do it, they will learn to understand why it is important and you can trust the next generation to do a fantastic job of helping the earth look and feel good.

***This is a collaborative post***

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