How to teach your child to protect the environment this Earth Day

Earth Day is a worldwide event on April 22 dedicated to supporting environmental protection.

Girl in field When children learn to appreciate the world from a young age, they are more likely to help protect our land for future generations to come. Generating a passion for protecting the planet early on makes a big difference in influencing children’s future-environmentally friendly habits.

Parents can take a number of steps to help their children learn about the world and care for our environment.

Reduce plastic waste
One big focus of Earth Day is helping to secure a future free of plastic pollution. Parents and children can drastically cut back on plastic by taking simple steps in their daily routine.

When parents grocery shop with children, they can practice this with reusable grocery bags to help children create an earth-friendly habit that they can continue later in life. Reusable straws, bags, water bottles and other items also make a big impact in reducing plastic waste. Not only are items like reusable straws, grocery bags and water bottles typically inexpensive, but they also come in a variety of colors and patterns for young children to enjoy.

Create a backyard or community garden
Planting a garden is a great activity for children and their caregivers because it teaches lessons about vegetation, the earth and sustainable living. Almost any space with sunlight can host a small garden or plant. There are many DIY tutorials and hacks online for creating a simple garden space.

Having a conversation with your child about creating and maintaining a garden can help teach lessons about photosynthesis, soil composition and various vegetation. Gardening encourages healthy eating and respect for the earth and its abilities. When children learn to garden, they will also learn lessons about how the earth can provide food and more.

Explore and enjoy nature
Venturing out into nature with young children is an excellent way to help positively stimulate the senses and foster an appreciation of our earth. Arizona is the perfect place to experience a variety of landscapes including forest, red rock, mountains and desert.

The state offers many scenic views near and far. There are many simple and fun ways to enjoy a day outdoors like hiking, having a picnic, visiting the park and more. From the red rocks in Sedona to the park around the corner, there is a perfect destination for every family.

Teach environmentally-friendly habits at home
Contributing to world change starts at home. With guidance from parents and caregivers, children can accomplish a number of environmentally friendly actions by starting with new habits right at home.

Teaching children daily habits like turning off unused lights, turning off the faucet when brushing their teeth and reusing cups and water bottles help integrate environmentally-friendly actions into daily routines. Each change in habit, no matter how small, can make an impact.

For more tips and free child development support, call the Birth to Five Helpline at 877-705-KIDS (5437) or download the Birth to Five Helpline app!

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.