Climate change is a big topic these days and with Singapore doing its part to adopt eco-friendly habits, it is time for young parents to teach your children to do the same. Habits are easy to form when minds are young so why not instil good habits in our kids as early as possible? Here are some tips for some eco-friendly fun with your kids.
1. Give your kids “The Talk” (about where trash goes)
Kids learn very early that they should throw their trash in the rubbish bin but the lesson should not stop there. Instead, teach kids about landfills and why we need to make an effort to create less trash. One way you can do so is by taking them on a field trip to Singapore’s very own offshore landfill, Pulau Semakau. There are many things to do on this man-made island such as the intertidal walk where kids can see wildlife such as corals and water spiders first-hand.
This can be a good lesson about the need to protect wildlife as well as reducing waste as Pulau Semakau is expected to be filled by 2035. You can also introduce your kids to eco-friendly choices by teaching them how to read labels before throwing their trash. This will help them see which materials can be recycled instead of being thrown away and help them make eco-friendly decisions before buying anything.
2. Be like an optimistic recycling bin – full of cans!
This brings us to the next lesson. You can teach kids “the three R’s” to reduce their waste, reuse materials, and recycle the rest. Help them understand that reducing what they consume and reusing products rather than buying new ones can be even better than recycling. Kids often throw things away without even thinking. Instead, teach kids to think before they toss: Can the item be donated? Can it be recycled or reused for another purpose?
Also, recently there have been efforts by food companies to stop the use of one-time plastic such as plastic straws. Show your kids how to drink without straws or introduce them to eco-friendly alternatives such as bamboo straws that they can carry in their very own pouch.
3. Take a little trip to Singapore town in a Singapore city bus
Teach your kids from an early age to choose a mode of transportation whenever possible that will do the least amount of damage to the environment.
As a family, take your kids to fun activities during the weekend using public transit, ride your bicycles, walk as much as possible instead of driving, and educate them about the importance of reducing our carbon footprint.
4. Ask your kids, “Water you up to?”
Explain to kids why it is important to conserve water and show them how much water we use daily without even realizing it. Use shower timers and make rules such as turning off the water when you brush your teeth.
You can also bring them to the NEWater Visitor Centre which provides interactive tours and educational workshops for people of all ages. This is important to teach kids about water sustainability especially for a water-scarce country like Singapore.
5. A friend in need is a friend indeed
Throughout the year, get your kids to collect good-conditioned items that they no longer use and take them to a donation centre together. Teach your kids that clothing is not disposable, so it is better to pass it on to someone in need. This goes for toys as well. This can also be a good lesson to be grateful for what they have and that less is more when it comes to buying new things.
If possible, you can also shop at thrift stores as a family rather than new clothes off the rack which can help save costs as well. Remember, eco-friendly parents raise eco-friendly kids.
By adopting all these practices as a family, it can be a fun and engaging way to instil positive habits in kids from a young age. This helps to ensure that they grow up to become a new generation of adults who are mindful of how their everyday decisions affect the environment.