If your teen rolls his or her eyes every time you remind them to be sustainable and kind to the planet, you might need to come up with new angles to inspire them to go green. This Youth Day, focus on a get-green plan for your teens.
Lay the Groundwork
There are lots of things you can do to have a greener home while making it easier for your teens to be green. For instance, buying them a reusable water bottle that won’t harm the planet with its plastic (or their health with its chemicals); changing the light-bulbs in their bedrooms; and purchasing energy-saving gadgets when it’s their birthday. You could also take them shopping for organic goods when grocery and clothing shopping to show them the cool and healthy stuff that’s out there. By taking the first step, you encourage them to continue these habits.
Put a Prize on it
Teens are stressed about so many things and nagging them to do green activities isn’t going to get you anywhere. In fact, if they feel it’s a stress, then they’re going to want to do less of it. Make it fun by motivating them. Just like with other valuable behaviours in your household, such as kindness and being disciplined with their chores, being green should be right up there as a positive behaviour that gets rewarded. So when they pop waste into the recycling bin or switch off lights when they’re not in use, give them kudos.
Green Your Family Activities
You need family time during which to bond with all your family members present, but a great idea to encourage green living is to make it an eco-friendly activity. If it’s DVD night, you could watch an eco-themed movie or documentary, or if it’s a night where you cook for each other, use a green cookbook. The Green Teen Cookbook (available at Amazon) is a great way to show teens how they can make delicious and eco foods.
Appeal to Their Inner Activist
Teens usually rebel against the status quo and question what is happening around them. This is the perfect opportunity for you to let them become young activists, capable of making a change. The bonus is that getting involved in a good cause, such as volunteering at an environmental group, will also boost their confidence. With social media becoming a big part of teens’ social lives, they are constantly seeing environmental awareness campaigns on sites such as Facebook. Encourage them to participate as much as possible!
Be a Good Eco Leader
While you’re trying to encourage your teens to live green, don’t forget that you need to lead by example! If you slip up and your teen sees, you will lose credibility and they might feel that they don’t need to be so disciplined if you’re not. On the other hand, if they see you living green daily, this will become a healthy habit for them that they are more likely to continue into adulthood.
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