As a parent, one of the biggest dilemmas you face is how to raise your child to be a good human being. You want them to absorb all of the goodness around them, and teach them to be a good standing member of society. This is a lot easier said than done, though. So how do you teach your child to appreciate the things that they have, and to not contribute to the wasteful or harmful habits that it is way too easy to fall into?
TEACH BY EXAMPLE
The best way to teach your child something is to exhibit those behaviors you want them to pick up. Children, especially the younger they are, are like sponges. They learn quickly and soak up information based on the things that are going on around them. If you act a certain way, they will begin to mimic this. Do you ever notice your young child has picked up a strange phrase, only to realize that it’s something you frequently say without even realizing it? This same principle applies no matter what you are trying to teach your child. They will view life through the lens that you supply to them. When you bring them along to the grocery store, they will notice that you bring reusable bags. They’ll learn that there is a difference between your garbage and recycling cans, based on what you place in each of them and how frequently. If you want your child to be less wasteful, the first step is to eliminate the wasteful tendencies that you exhibit in your daily life.
GET CREATIVE AND MAKE IT FUN
Your child just wants to be included, in absolutely everything that you do. It makes them feel important and like they are a part of the family. So, make fun games out of sorting recycling, cleaning up, and tossing things into your compost bin. The important thing is to involve them because they will connect to it a lot more effectively.
HAVE THEM HELP YOU IN THE KITCHEN
One of the most wasteful things that you do without even realizing it is eating highly processed foods. Sure, it’s not great for your body. But processed foods often come with excessive packaging. When you cook with fresh ingredients, you’ll notice that your garbage bin doesn’t fill as quickly. Not only will having them help you in the kitchen teach them about being less wasteful, but it will also help them be more open to eating more types of food. Being a part of the cooking and preparation process helps them gain ownership of what they’ve done, and will motivate them to eat the meal when it is done. This will help cut down on food waste, as well, since your child will be more likely to eat the food that is put on their plate.
LIMIT PRE-MEAL SNACKING
Another big culprit of waste? When you let your child snack prior to a meal. Even something small will fill them up a lot more than you’d think, and they won’t be as open to trying new foods because they won’t be hungry.
One area of waste that a lot of people can cut back considerably on without sacrificing much is water. As you teach them to brush their teeth, teach them to keep the tap off while they are brushing. When they get older and transition from baths to a shower, help them make it a part of their routine, which will help implement a time limit on it, so they don’t end up in the shower for 45 minutes. If they know how to clean themselves efficiently, they won’t need to spend excessive time in the shower. This will help give your child an important lesson on water conservation and the effects they have on the environment.
When your child is done playing a game or watching something on TV, remind them to turn it off or power it down. Electricity is a significant area of waste, and it’s so easy just to switch things into the off position when you are done with them. This can be an easy lesson that goes hand in hand with cleaning up when you’re done playing with something. You’re done playing with your toys, so you put them away. You’re done playing with your Xbox, so you turn it off.
Teaching your children gratitude and to appreciate the things they have will come gradually with consistency and guidance, in turn, you’ll ensure that your children grow up appreciating the things they have and keep waste to a minimum.