The following information provides ways to guide children's curiosity and enthusiasm for the natural world, help them to understand environmental problems, deal with their concerns, and get interested and busy with solutions.
Provide your child with time to spend in nature
Children need opportunities to bond with nature. Children's curiosity with the natural world and unique way of knowing requires discovery and exploratory learning.
Help your children find something positive to do for the environment
You can encourage your children to take action and believe they can make a difference to the environment with even the smallest actions. Children can also learn a lot by watching parents doing positive things for the environment.
Listen to your children's concerns about the environment
Many children might have concerns about climate change and other environmental problems, and need help to make sense of events. Listen first, and listen closely, to what children are asking or saying, and think about whether they are looking for factual information, or if the questions are expressing anxiety about environmental problems.
Allow children to tell you how they feel and think
Children need to be able to let the adults in their world know how they feel and think. It can be helpful to let them know that it is reasonable to feel angry, frustrated, anxious, sad, helpless, or depressed about environmental problems.
Find out what your children know
Find out what your children know in case they have mistaken ideas or facts, and correct any misconceptions. Keep your responses appropriate to the age of your child and also appropriate to the child's level of understanding and emotional maturity.
Be aware of how you talk
Adults need to be conscious of the presence of children when discussing climate change and other worrying environmental problems. It is a good idea not to let children overhear adult conversations about worrying things if they cannot join in at their own age or stage of development.
Monitor how much your children are being exposed to media stories of environmental problems
Children's experience of media images contributes in significant ways to the way they think, act and feel about the world and social reality. Parents need to take responsibility for what their children are watching and listening to.
Reassure your children and give them hope
Reassure children that millions of people all over the world are working and talking together so that environmental problems can be solved, and the planet can be protected. There are many people who are dedicating their lives to researching ways to improve the health of the planet, as well as many who are part of local and global environmental movements.