Habits are easy to form when minds are fresh and impressionable. There’s a reason why it is easier to teach children, than adults. Why not make use of that and instil good habits in our kids from as early on as possible?
One challenge we face today is to ensure that we lead sustainable lives. It is imperative to bring kids into that space and teach them about making eco-friendly choices.
Here are seven ways to make sustainable living fun to learn.
1. Start composting your waste at home
For children, anything that is presented as fun and games is always exciting. Start with creating a compost pit in your own house.
Introduce composting as food for plants rather than referring to it as recycled waste.
It would register far better with children when they learn that it is somebody else’s food.
I remember when my son was learning to compost in school, his excitement stemmed from seeing the wriggly worms crawl in and out of the mud. What a sense of accomplishment he felt.
Learn more about composting from this article.
2. Reduce the use of plastics, especially straws
With awareness, there has an emphasis on reducing and gradually stopping the use of one-time plastic, which includes plastic straws. Schools are also reiterating this time and again. Use the summer holidays to come up with innovative solutions to the usage of plastic straws. Experiment with various eco-friendly materials and make some straws at home.
3. Shift to organic fruits and vegetables
Introduce them to organic foods early on. Ensure that you explain to them what ‘organic’ means and why it is important for us to try and buy this whenever possible. If you have the option of growing your food, then do explore that.
Not only will you be teaching your kids the importance of eating healthy but will also introduce them to farming in a fun way.
Teach them about seasonal vegetables and fruits and encourage them not to be afraid of getting their hands dirty.
If you live in Bengaluru and would like to explore farming, then read about Farmizen, an app-based farming system that allows you to grow and harvest your crops.
4. Tidying up after themselves
Children need to be taught to tidy up after themselves; whether it is after playtime or mealtime. After a meal, ensure that your child rinses the plate before leaving it in the sink as tough stains require more water to rinse off.
Similarly, ensure that you have separate bins for your wet waste and dry waste and teach them the process of waste segregation early on. The benefits of managing waste are so many that an apartment complex in Mahim, Mumbai, is now running a self-sustaining waste management programme, which recycles kitchen waste into organic compost.
Read all about it here and get your share of inspiration.
5. Spend time in making DIY pencil pouches
Most pencil boxes that are available in the market today are made from some kind of plastic. Why not spend time making your pencil pouches.
Get your sarees, t-shirts, and even those discarded tissue cardboard rolls out and make some quirky pouches.
Incentivise children by telling them about how they make different pouches for each semester in school. Do ensure that you upcycle the ones not in use effectively.
Watch this video for more ideas.
6. Encourage your kids to carry their bottle of water
We know that water is the elixir of life. Encourage kids to carry their bottle of water and what better than a clay bottle. It ensures that the water remains cool for a longer time.
You could also teach them to make lemon juice and carry it with them when they step out. It will ensure that you do not buy the aerated drinks that are sold in plastic bottles.
You can buy clay water bottles here.
7. Plant a tree and nurture it
Various organisations kickstart plantation drives with participation from people. But we often forget to go back and check on what we planted.
While it is essential to encourage children to plant saplings, do take them regularly to visit the site where it was sown and watch the tree grow.
Tell your kids about how these kids in Mumbai have taken ownership of trees. It will inspire your child to nurture the plant.
Do write in and tell us about how you make sustainable living a part of your routine.
Let’s work together to save the planet!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)