Pakistan’s First Parenting Magazine

Taking Care of the Environment

Teaching Children about Sustainability and Conservation of Environment an Activity Based Learning Model

By Sadaf Taimur

Smart schooling can be the best possible hope in learning to live a sustainable and environmentally friendly life for children. Although the environmental education is, nowadays, imparted in most of the academic curricula of the schools but parents, especially mothers, are the personalities, who can nurture the skills, values and knowledge of sustainable living and environmental protection, in their kids. Various kinds of activities and strategies can be adopted, based on the suitable age level, in order to build a constructive conservational atmosphere.

Home is the place where a child starts learning everything and grabbing good and bad habits; so moms and dads are the agents with the power of transforming the personalities and habits of their children. Starting with the basic concepts of environmental protection, parents must guide their kids to act upon the following guidelines:

Saving water

Saving water is an easy task, you can tell your kids to remember turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth and encourage them to take a bath instead of taking a shower. Tell your children to check the washrooms’ and kitchen’s taps before going to bed and make sure that those taps are not dripping. Narrating the importance of water and indicating the future water crisis can help a lot in making your child understand the need of saving water.

Conserving energy

Ask your child to turn off the lights when they are leaving the room. Tell them to turn all the electrical appliances off before going to bed and don’t leave them in even standby mode. Explain to your child the worth of energy and its conservation, current and future energy crisis and finally, the reasons and benefits of saving energy.

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Make your kids understand the concept of the 3R`s i.e. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Telling your kids about reusing the material and reducing the use of disposable and unwanted materials can help. Bring a few reusable paper or cloth bags, take your kids for shopping and ask them to use the reusable bags instead of plastic bags. The reason for “not using plastic bags”, if disclosed, will make the children understand the worth of reusable bags and their significance for the environment.  

Training your kids to identify the recyclable material from the dump and separating them in various boxes like newspapers, bottles and papers will help in developing the concept of recycling rather than wasting materials. While separating the materials for recycling, kids must be involved in newspaper folding and cardboard crushing. If old enough, kids can also be made to get involved in labeling the boxes or storage cartons.

Sorting the synthetic and organic garbage can be done in a simple way.

Place two garbage bins everywhere in your home, especially in the kitchen, and train your kids to throw the organic garbage like orange peels, banana peels and food left over in one bin and synthetic waste like paper bags, plastic bags and dry cells in the other bin. Introduce the concept of using compost, which is prepared by mixing organic garbage with soil and storing it for a few days, in gardening. Involve your kids in gardening; it is the most healthy and environmentally friendly activity.

Introducing cleaning practices

Let your child clean the lounge, garden, washroom and kitchen. Cleaning these areas will incorporate a sense of taking care of the environment in the child. Tell your kids to not throw the garbage on the road or in the streets. This will incorporate the feeling of belonging in the kids, not only for their area but also for their city and country.

Telling stories

Most of the people narrate bedtime stories to their kids before going to bed. Narrating environmental friendly stories with a moral can assist the kids in learning various concepts about the environment.

By taking care of all the above-mentioned guidelines, parents will definitely feel a drastic change in the behavior of their kids towards the environment. The basic need for applying these guidelines is that the parents must explain children about the need to follow these guidelines and the outcome of following them. Make sure that you are being polite and not forcing your kids to follow these guidelines. Involve your kids in various activities in order to teach all the environmental concepts. Give them various responsibilities from time to time; this will help them feel responsible and valued.

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