It’s a natural instinct as a parent to want to protect our children from anything which will scare or worry them. But as we know, climate change is something everyone is being affected by right now, and talking about it within our families is becoming more and more important.
Children will become aware of climate change from a young age whether it’s through books, television programmes or at school, and they’re probaby going to have some questions. As with all things to do with parenting, it’s best to be honest and to give them facts and information about what action we can take - and to give them hope too.
We’ve had a think about some ways to make the conversations about climate change easier.
Arm yourself with the facts
Children can be very good at asking questions we don’t immediately have the answers to. Obviously no one knows everything but if your child seems interested in climate change and the causes and impact of it, try to make sure you’ve got some facts and information to hand. There are probably some easy examples in your local area you can use to demonstrate the impact of climate change - and positive stories about what is being done to minimise it. Programmes like Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth III can be a gentle but effective way of showing young people how wildlife and different environments are being affected by the actions of humans across the world. There are also lots of books and websites such as Kids.Earth.org which can help you show children visual examples of what is happening and answer their questions.
Get out into nature
The best way to appreciate the world and see why we need to work together to protect it, is to spend time in it. As you know, here at Love Ocean we love being out in the fresh air, enjoying our wonderful planet. But it’s while you’re out exploring that you might see plastic on beaches or the effects of pollution in rivers and this can be a good way to open up conversations about the challenges our planet faces. If children have a love of the environment they will grow up respecting and loving it.
Take action together
There is so much families can do to make a difference. You could all sit down together and make a list of things you can do every day to make a difference. This could be things like recycling, using less water when you brush your teeth or turning off the lights and other appliances when you’re not using them.
There are also lots of ways you can help in your local community such as walking or using public transport more, joining a local litter pick or planting some trees.
Find inspirational people
There are so many amazing people leading the fight against climate change that you can talk to your children about. From famous faces such as Greta Thunberg, to the inspirational Meek sisters Ella and Amy who started Kids Against Plastic in 2016. They’ve collected hundreds of thousands of pieces of single-use plastic litter around the UK and are helping young people learn more about how to be plastic-free.
There will probably be children at school or in your child’s friendship group who are becoming young climate activists. Why not join forces with them to organise some activities in your school or local area to raise awareness of local issues or campaigns which need support?
The global challenges that we’re all facing can feel overwhelming for children so when you’re talking to children about it, try to keep things positive and solution-based. Yes, this is an issue that will shape their future more than any other generation but if we’re going to make changes it’s going to have to be a team effort!
NASA has some great resources for talking to your children about climate change here.
Books on climate change that we love: