Teaching your kids about sustainable living is an important part of ensuring that our Earth outlives us, them and future generations to come. It may seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be. There are a number of ways to teach your children how to protect and care for our Earth and the environment around us.

Be a Role Model
The easiest way to teach your children about sustainability (and anything, for that matter) is to be a positive role model.

Children are like sponges, and they notice the little things. If you want to teach your children about protecting the environment, it’s important that you first do this yourself. After all, “do as I say, not as I do,” has never worked too well with kids.

Look for ways that you can reduce waste or electricity in your home. This doesn’t have to be complicated. For instance, turn off lights when you leave a room in the house, or walk or ride bikes instead of driving, whenever possible. These small actions will send a powerful message to your children.

Use Recycled or Reusable Products
Children will also take notice of the types of products that you use around your home. Reusable water bottles, for instance, are an easy way to reduce waste and teach children how small decisions can make a big impact.

If you can’t find a reusable product to fit your needs, make sure that whatever you choose is made of recycled materials and can be recycled after use. With the green movement being so popular right now, there are a number of products that can be used to reduce your, and your child’s, carbon footprint.

Create Teachable Moments
While implementing green practices may seem easy, it’s important that you teach your child why you are making these changes in your home. Creating teachable moments can be as simple as explaining to your children why they must bring their water bottles home with them from school, and why you do not use the kind of water bottles that you throw away.

In our home, we have several recycling bins and have taught our children which types of products go in each. Now, recycling has become a habit in our home. We no longer have to ask our children to take their old school papers and put them in the bin for paper products.

Make it Fun
Living a sustainable life and reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be boring. There are a number of ways to make this a fun project for the whole family. For example, use recycled materials to do a family art project, or go to the park instead of watching a movie.

At Little Owl Learning Academy, we use recycled materials whenever possible. Items such as paper towel or toilet paper rolls can be used for a number of art projects, while recycled egg cartons can be a great way to distribute paint or smaller supplies. This is just one way that our facility has chosen to support sustainability in our everyday operations.

Planning fun activities is also a great way to keep your kids’ attention when you are teaching them about recycling or reducing waste.

Consider planting a vegetable garden together as a family and have your children help water and tend to the seedlings. When the vegetables are ready to be harvested, your children can help you gather the fruits of your labor and prepare a meal with them.

You may be surprised by how engaged they are in the process, and how much they can learn from a fun family activity.

Sindy Ortiz is the Director of Little Owl Learning Academy (LOLA), a high-tech, eco-friendly childcare facility located in Trinity.