Glaciers are melting, the temperatures are increasing and more natural disasters are occurring. Even Singapore’s weather has been unpredictable lately, with the unbearable heat and sudden downpours. Nature is telling us, we have to do something, NOW.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to start a movement or take part in a grand gesture. It can be as simple as teaching junior to be environmentally friendly every day.
1. Create a reuse, reduce and recycle system at home
Mark three dustbins according to recyclable materials — paper, plastic and metal (cans). Teach junior how to identify and place the different waste products into the correct bins. Explain how the various items can be recycled and how it helps the earth. You can also assign junior to be the “Recycling Director”. This will also teach your tot responsibility.
Last but not least, you could get them more involved in recycling by creating something new and fun out of junk — show them you don’t have to keep buying new things, your imagination and some ingenuity can make it out of the bins!
2. Go hiking, camping or visit the zoo
Instead of going to malls or indoor playgrounds, go outdoors and show them the wonders of nature. Take a trip over to Fort Canning Park, The Botanic Gardens or East Coast Park to relish the greenery. Go hiking or camping and show them how much fun can be found outdoors (also, how to stay environmentally-friendly by not leaving litter around). Or you could visit the zoo or the bird park and explain how saving the environment will save the animals as well!
3. Introduce a “save water” policy at home
Saving water has always been especially important in Singapore as water pours from every tap and can be wasted just so easily. And remember: Our country doesn’t have enough of it. It is important to teach junior the importance of saving water as at that age, almost every child loves playing in water, without knowing the consequences.
Easy ways of saving water include: Giving junior a shower time limit; or challenge them to use only a mugful of water to brush their teeth and reward them when they achieve it. Make conserving water more fun giving junior a prize each time they find and practices ways to conserve water such as by turning off all taps that are running for no purpose. Or make a game of finding all taps and checking them before bedtime. The possibilities are endless!
Click next for four more ways to teach your tot to save the earth!
4. Turn off the power switches
Just like conserving water, it is equally important to conserve electricity. Your best method is to make it a habit to switch off all appliances and switches whenever they are not in use.
You can use similar methods to the water-saving ones; for instance, bubba could get a star for switching off lights — and with enough stars, they “earn” a small reward! This would build into a good habit.
5. Buy eco-friendly toys
The best part of eco-friendly toys is that they are also safer for junior, especially if they are at the stage in which they like to put things in their mouths. They are made of non-toxic substances and safer plastics than most toys in the market. Also, good quality eco-friendly toys are generally more durable, which will save you the trouble (and cost) of constantly buying new toys. And did we mention that junk can be turned into toys, too?
6. Encourage walking (and, later, bicycling)
We don’t need to tell you that cars are enormous environmental hogs, right? Encourage junior to walk to easily accessible places near home. Not only will this be a way for junior and you to stay healthy, it’s a good time to bond with junior, plus it will expose junior more to the environment. Should your tot complain about the heat, you will be able to use that opportunity to explain that it is the result of global warming and reiterate the importance of going green!
7. Read them stories/play movies or cartoons with eco-friendly messages
Grab The Wump World by Bill Peet, $11.31 from bookdepository.com, or One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul $24.93 from bookdepository.com, and read to your little one. Or pop in a DVD of Over the Hedge, Wall-E or Hoot — the themes of waste and the need for conservation will go down more easily with these fun characters!