Climate change is a complicated subject and can cause anxiety and fear among adults as well as children. So, what should parents do to help alleviate that worry? Not being afraid to discuss the issue with our kids is the first step.
Lean into the abstract concept but let kids determine the pace. Follow your child’s lead and truthfully answer any questions without giving away information that hasn’t been asked.
Explain the process around our carbon footprint or how single-use plastic can harm the environment before talking about the bigger problem of climate change. As parents, we need to resist the urge to spill all the beans right away. Not because we need to hide information from our kids, but because we need to respect their processing speed and ability.
Look for stories and books that inform children about ways they can help and show respect for our planet. Explore climate change together and look at resources that trusted sources like NASA and National Geographic provide.
Let the kids explore their interests and try out their suggestions. There is a good chance they’ll do research on their ideas and feel empowered to take on an issue that can feel scary.
A version of this story first appeared in our April 2021 issue.