Most kids have heard a whole lot about climate change from the news, or at school, or just from overhearing adult conversations. But do they know what climate change is? Parents can sometimes forget that kids are absorbing things from the world around them, and sometimes they might need a little extra help to understand and not feel afraid.
Explain what it is in a child-appropriate way
Sites like this one have many wonderful resources to explain what climate change is in a way that kids will understand, and include games and videos. Kids picture books can be another great resource for talking about climate in an understandable way.
Avoid the freakout
Being a small kid in a big world can feel scary. When you talk about climate, communicate a message of action and hope. If kids know that they can do something to help, it inspires them to be responsible citizens and makes them feel less scared.
Discuss changes the family can make with your child
Could your family make small changes like eating less meat, turning off electronics, walking instead of driving short distances, and switching from paper towels to cloth napkins? It may feel like a small or insignificant thing to make a small change in your household, but it’s not. Not only do these actions help the earth, but they also teach children to be conscientious about the choices they make in their day-to-day lives.
Make a plan to raise money for an environmental cause
Donating some money through a garage sale, lemonade stand or a saved-up allowance to a climate change organization or another environmental group can help kids feel generous and like they are contributing to the cause.
However you decide to tackle these conversations with your child, it’s important to have them. Knowledge will empower your children and make them feel less afraid and give them a sense of the power they have to change the world.