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How to Involve Children in Green Choices

5 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Living Green with Children

Teaching children to live a green lifestyle can set the stage for a greener future for all. And it doesn't have to be difficult. Children like to be able to teach their parents a thing or two, so give them the chance to take the lead in green activities at home. Put them in charge of various aspects of your environmental policy, and they’ll likely love the role. You can help them take this leadership position by involving them in decision making around the house.

Ask them to come up with energy-saving changes, for example. When they decide on their own that it’s better to switch off the TV when they’re not using it — and to switch it off by unplugging it or turning off the power strip — they’re more likely to translate that into action. Depending on their ages, you may ask them to help you do the following things:

  • Plan healthy, green menus and then turn them into a shopping list.

  • Find items around the house to reuse, such as turning computer paper printed on one side only into notebooks or scrap paper for art projects.

  • Sort through their toys to find items that they’d like to donate to children in need in their community.

    Giving away unused toys is both green and generous.
    Giving away unused toys is both green and generous.
  • Save money as a family to help a charity either at home or around the world; examples include donating to a local food bank or helping a community in Africa build a well to provide a reliable source of water.

  • Set up bins and a composter to make it easy to organize recycling efforts, and get the kids involved in using them.

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