Cleaning up the worldwide epidemic of trash seems like an impossible chore, but teaching kids to be less wasteful, in addition to being more creative with reuse and recycling is far from impossible. Getting your kids to recycle instead of being wasteful can be a fun learning experience for the whole family. So how do you go about getting started?
7 parenting tips to teach your child to recycle.
1. Start with the basics.
Show your kids the basic elements of proper recycling. Make time to show your kids your household's routine for recycling. If you have sort bins at home, make sure they are labeled. Then show your kids where to put recyclables in their appropriate places!
2. Try Upcycling.
Upcycling is considered an alternative to recycling, or more accurately another way to extend the usefulness of an item. This method of reducing waste is gaining popularity with children for a variety of reasons. Essentially kids get to refresh old items into new items they can use for school, wear, or much more?
3. School programs.
As something that benefits every student, as well as the surrounding community, there are plenty of reasons for schools to take pride in their recycling programs. Teachers can teach students the importance of reducing waste and participating in recycling efforts in a joint effort with parents. If your child's school doesn't have a recycling program or waste reduction initiative, suggest creating one. It couldn't hurt. Consider encouraging classroom competitions with recycling goals, and no matter the outcome everyone wins!
4. Involvement in community projects.
Parents, kids, and your local community can come together to reduce waste. There's power in numbers, look for programs your kids can participate in to learn about recycling. Take your kids on a tour of your community's recycling center and processing plant. Play recycling themed games to help your kids understand the impact of waste reduction and the steps involved.
5. Reduce waste.
The act of recycling often overshines our responsibility to reduce waste, and yet it is the reason for recycling in the first place. Set goals for reducing waste around your household. See if you can produce less trash each week. Or make more obvious changes like giving up paper napkins, instead using cloth napkins during meals.
6. Just plain talking to them.
Just sit your child down, and talk to them about the importance of recycling. Start by discussing why recycling is good for the environment, then go into details of the process. Your younguns will be proud to share what they know.
7. Look for goods made from recycled materials.
Make a game out of finding items made from recycled materials. When your kids identify a product made out of recycled goods, have them envision the products that went into making it. This will help them further understand the life-cycle of materials, and open their eyes to potential hiding in everyday objects.
Reducing waste is everyone's responsibility, by creating more opportunities for children to understand their role we stand a better chance of improving things for future families.