Getting children into the routine of recycling and mindset of environmental awareness can seem like a daunting task, but by starting early and making it easy and fun, you can slowly introduce the kids to a green lifestyle.
Good habits start early
Introducing children to the world of recycling early is a good way to start. Include it in your own daily routine and it will soon become a natural habit for the little ones. At the end of the day, if you don’t stick to it, your children are not going to see the point either. Leading by example and talking through your own environmentally conscious actions will encourage children to follow suit.
Education is key to changing anyone’s lifestyle and behaviour, especially with young people. Have recycling facts at the ready for those older, more curious children, and be prepared to explain why it is vital to care for the environment. There is an abundance of resources in local libraries and online, to help motivate children to look after the planet. Videos, books and activities can be very useful tools for parents when inspiring environmental responsibility.
Make it easy and convenient
Setting out your bins in obvious places will make it simple for children to pop their rubbish away. Place marked bins in the kitchen and bathroom in easy to reach places. Why not pop a waste paper basket alongside the general rubbish bin in their bedrooms? The easier you make it, the more easily children will take to recycling.
Try different coloured bins for each type of rubbish: perhaps green for paper, blue for recyclable bottles and red for general waste.
Make it fun
An infallible way to instil a green lifestyle into children is to make recycling exciting. Turn it into a game by assembling a pile of (clean and child-friendly) rubbish and urge them to guess which material goes in which bin.
Get creative and let the children decorate your household dustbins. Not only is this a great boredom buster during school holidays, but involving children gives them confidence and a sense of purpose in the process of recycling. Perhaps suggest that they draw pictures of the materials that belong in each container. However, this method will only work if you don’t mind having a pink glittery waste system!
Joining local environmental groups or clean-up schemes is a great way to encourage your children to recycle. Not only will they make new like-minded friends, but they’ll also become more aware of the bigger picture of caring for the environment.
If all else fails, small incentives can go a long way in maintaining a child’s good habits. A praise and reward system can be the push they need to continue their eco-friendly attitudes. Maybe offer pocket money as a reward for helping to empty out the bins, or a sticker for every time the little ones recycle.