Parenting In Focus: Environmental lessons for little ones

  • Wednesday, June 17, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

By Cynthia Martin

For the Sequim Gazette

Earth Day was somewhat overshadowed this year by the attention given to an unwelcomed virus. However, the nice thing about this neglected day is you can teach lessons about the environment any day.

We all want the world to be a healthy place when our children grow up. But our children are some of the future keepers of the world. You can help your child begin to understand environmental issues even now, long before she enters school.

Spring is a wonderful time to begin your lessons in environmental awareness. It is a beautiful time to be outside. That surely is why Earth Day is in April. Help your child learn about nature by planting something.

It can be an especially good time to talk with him about the importance of planting trees. Explain to him that when you plant trees, they help to reduce air pollution by absorbing bad air or air that is filled with carbon dioxide. He may not understand carbon dioxide but he does understand “bad air.”

Planting anything with him is also a fun time to talk together about other things he can do to help keep our environment healthy. Talk about picking up trash, not wasting water and the value of sorting trash. At the same time, help him appreciate the beauty of what is around him – the beauty of the mountains, the clean air, the clouds, and the beautiful water views.

Even when it comes time to take out your trash, do it together. Talk about why separating your trash from your papers helps the environment. Have him help you move the trash cans to the street for pickup. Make him feel that what he and you are doing is making a difference and doing something important.

So even though Earth Day is long gone for this year, talk about it with him. This is a day that was first celebrated in 1969. This day saw the beginning of many ways the environment was helped. Young people have been significant help in making this day a special day and one that emphasizes the importance of protecting our environment.

Let you little one know that young people have made a big difference in the last 50 years in bringing attention to keeping good care of the earth. Encourage him to do his part.

What a wonderful opportunity we have as parents. We have a chance to help teach our children about ways our children can help save the world. This is just one more of the many important lessons you have an opportunity to teach your child. Enjoy it. Be excited about these lessons you are teaching.

Remind him next April and see what he remembers about Earth Day.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. To reach interim First Teacher Executive Director Patty Waite, email or call 360-681-2250.

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