As the mother of a three-year-old and aunt to seven other children, I have been lucky to be surrounded by beautiful children for many years.
Their innocence, goodness, and enthusiasm for life inspire me to do the work that I do. Just by existing, they constantly push me to make this world better—for them.
I believe it is our responsibility as conscious beings to pass on what we have learned to the next generation. The following suggestions are some of the most important ways we can do this. They also happen to be some of the simplest.
Why not make an Earth Day resolution to adopt one or two—or the whole list if you’re feeling ambitious?!
Live by Example
Children learn how to be in the world from their caregivers’ actions, so let’s live in alignment with what we teach. We can educate ourselves about ways to help protect our earth, and follow up by taking concrete action in our lives. The documentary “Cowspiracy” (free on Netflix), and other similar resources are a great starting point.
It’s difficult to teach kids to “be kind to all living creatures” if there is meat on the dinner table, so let’s check in with ourselves. Are we living in alignment with what we teach? If not, what can we do differently that would set a better example?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We can educate our children about recycling and where trash ends up if it doesn’t make it into the right bin. Children love activities where their creativity is challenged.
We might consider asking our child to find reusable alternatives to disposable household items (stainless steel containers instead of plastic bags, cloth napkins instead of paper), or to turn trash into treasure. For example, empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls make excellent musical instruments when filled with dried rice or beans. If we talk to our children about the importance of minimal packaging and how to recycle and reuse, they will listen.
There’s nothing more magical than seeing a child plant a seed, nurture it, and watch it grow. Planting seeds helps them understand that all living things must work together in order for everything to thrive. As they watch their plants grow and develop, children will feel proud and excited to spend time in the garden.
If land to grow a garden is not available, we can also give our child a few pots to plant their veggies or flowers in. They’ll still be inspired. Bonus: A child who has nourished, grown, and made a connection with a vegetable will also be more likely to eat it.
Spend Time in Nature
We can spend as much time as possible outdoors with our children. Simply sitting, having a picnic, taking a nature walk, or visiting the beach are all beautiful ways to connect. We should allow our children to see the beauty that the earth contains, and help them learn about the interconnection of all living things. This will help them to consciously care for our planet and keep it beautiful.
Spend Time with Animals
The simple connection between species can remind us of how we naturally coexist. Children learn responsibility and compassion, and come to respect living beings by spending time in an animal’s presence. We should be sure to take time during our child’s early development to bring them to animal sanctuaries, wild spaces, or other places where animals live happily and well.
Remember playing outside as a child and having the best time swinging in the park or swimming at the river? Let’s give our children the same joy. We can let our children walk barefoot when they play outside. Let them get dirty!
Research has shown links between connecting to the earth’s natural energy and enjoying vibrant, balanced health. The more time spent outside—and the less time inside watching television or using iPads and smartphones—the better.
I’d love to hear from you, too. What are your favourite ways to celebrate the earth with your children? Please share your ideas in the comments!
Author: Donna Wild
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron