As a parent, I want my child to have a care-free childhood but also teach her about the dangers that can be found in the world without scaring her.
She’s 7 and she learnt about Stranger Danger quite early on in her school life; she knows what to look out for and we talked out it quite a bit. Thankfully, it didn’t appear to scare her and she seemed to be happy being armed with this information.
But there are other dangers, one of which is climate change.
Let’s be honest, having children doesn’t come with a manual. I, for one, try to learn from other parents and think about what I say and how I act because they are sponges when they are young. We’re all just trying our best and hope we don’t screw them up!
As an eco-blogger (and an imperfect environmentalist), I’m well aware of how the planet is changing and studying towards a degree in Environmental Science has given me an insight into the science of climate change and it’s contributing factors; looking at articles, questioning sources and the ability to determine whether the author of the article has an agenda. Some of it is a little scary, even for me.
So how do I explain climate change to my child? After all, her generation are going to inherit the planet from us.
Climate change refers to the changes in temperatures and weather patterns around our planet and one of the main causes of this is human activity and this what we talk about; human activity.
I talk to her about the smaller stuff like litter-picking and reducing plastic. We go litter-picking and she knows about turning the lights off when they aren’t needed. She enjoys watching Blue Peter who talk about climate activism in a really thoughtful and sensitive way. She’s even got a green Blue Peter badge (something I told everyone who would listen!).
A while back, she heard someone said that they hated the rain – it wasn’t even heavy rain. She later said to me “the rain helps the environment, it’s just nature doing its thing”. I have to say, that really made me smile because that’s exactly what it’s doing.
The rain helps the environment, it’s just nature doing it’s thingTweet
When I talk to her about what’s happening to the environment, I tell her bits of what’s going on but I offer solutions too.
We’ve taught her about recycling and she knows which bin to use for an item and why recycling is important, turning off the tap when she’s not using the water and the issues of wasting it, she has no problem wearing second-hand clothing, and we go litter-picking too.
Recently, the final episode of Frozen Planet II aired on the BBC and I noticed quite a few posts on Twitter where people thought it was terrifying and questioned whether it’s something young children should be watching. Some said kids should know about it and others thought it’s best to shield them from it. I haven’t let my daughter watch it, as a parent, we should do what we think is best for our own children.
I recently wrote a post about coping with eco-anxiety and I do adopt some of these practices when talking to her about the environment.
I think the key is helping them to find solutions and being able to action them. Even as adults we can sometimes feel quite powerless but, in my opinion, doing something is always better than not doing anything at all.
Ultimately, I want to be able to look her in the eye and tell her that I tried my best with what I had.
These are some ideas that work for me but may not work for everyone. Here are my terms & conditions for further reading