At HomeKate Sheppard
Discussing climate change with kids can seem like a daunting task, but kids benefit from having a better connection to the planet.

There are plenty of difficult subjects that can come up when talking to kids, and climate change  is one of a long list. But with the kids of today the generation that will be most affected by the impact of our current actions, helping them to foster a deeper connection with the planet and understand how their actions play a role is essential. 

So how do you do that without invoking anxiety or concern in your kids? 

Discussing Climate Change: Get the Ball Rolling with Scientific Facts

As an adult, it’s best if you are the one  to raise the topic and get the conversation started. Your kid might already be aware of the issues, or they might be unaware of how serious the situation is, so gauging what they know already is a good starting point. 

Although climate change is something that affects everyone on the planet, it’s often having the hard talks that can be the most difficult part of it all. 

Facts are the best place to start, as often kids hear strange ideas or can misconstrue things they’ve overheard. This can skew their knowledge of the situation. 

Acknowledge the claims and explain the facts, along with the science of how the planet is changing as a result of climate change. It can be a tough conversation to have but it will help to give kids the facts about the situation and make them aware of what’s really a concern, and what’s just a myth

Invite Climate Change Professionals to Talk to Kids

It’s not just parents who have a responsibility to educate kids on our changing planet – teachers can also start discussions. A school environment is the perfect place to get kids talking about the ways they can get involved with reducing their carbon footprint.  Setting up talks and workshops in school assemblies to teach children about the likes of reducing their waste and recycling is a great way to get the whole school involved in the process. 

Sonya Cragg, Head of Sales and Marketing at Countrystyle Recycling, explains “the objective is to teach primary school pupils the benefits of recycling and most importantly how they can recycle at home. The school's initiative is our way of connecting with these pupils, making the teaching process informative but fun.”

Through school talks, discussions, and hands-on workshops, kids have the opportunity to find ways to help that they can take home and put into practice with their own families. 

Explain How People are Attempting to Resolve Climate Change Issues

Understandably, kids can become worried and upset by the realities of climate change, so it’s important to highlight the ways that people are doing good in the world and making a difference. It will inspire kids to get involved and alleviate some of their concerns. 

Talk to them about playgrounds that produce energy around the world, about kids who are involved in activism, and the Meat-Free Mondays campaign with the goal for more people to reduce their consumption of meat to decrease problematic environmental emissions. These examples will inspire hope and show kids that all is not lost and that there are people taking control and taking positive steps to enact change.

For more inspiration on how to engage kids effectively in conversations about climate change, Sphero put together four Earth Day STEAM activities that kids can get involved in a fun and exciting way.

Brainstorm Ideas on How You Can Do More

In an effort to inspire kids about climate change and the environment, it’s important to involve them on a practical level – abstract ideas are all well and good, but it can be overwhelming to even know what to do with the information they’re given. Many kids already understand cause and effect, so tailor your talks in this manner and discuss what you can do as a family to do your part for the planet.  

Maybe it’s leaving for school ten minutes earlier so you can all walk rather than drive. Perhaps you can be more consistent with your at-home recycling, and your kids can be in charge of making sure items are put in the right bins so they can be recycled properly. Or maybe you can set up a home composting system to prevent as much waste from going to landfills as possible.

In a recent blog for ​​The Tot, Sabrina Rogers-Anderson says that composting “teaches kids how to reduce waste and care for our planet, it introduces them to science as they learn about decomposition, and it teaches them to be patient as they wait for the slow process to unfold.” 

Kids will spot inconsistencies, so putting them in charge of these steps will empower them to keep everyone on track. It also encourages them to learn about the processes and science behind each method, such as how composting works, the process of recycling materials, and why renewable energy is a positive change. 

Climate Change for Kids: Final Thoughts

With an influx of information surrounding the impact of climate change it’s understandable that t kids and teens may feel stressed about the current situation and future of the environment. Making a personal connection is essential. 

Getting kids of all ages involved and talking about the issues at hand is the first step towards creating a generation of people who are more conscious of the planet.. From starting discussions in schools to thinking up ways that you can do your part as a family and making sure kids know the facts from fiction, these tips will help you encourage a positive connection between kids and climate change. 

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

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