September 2021 Archives

Talking to Our Children About Climate Change

 

As extreme weather events continue, we adults owe it to our children to explain what is happening on our beloved planet. Climate change is here, and we need to come to grips with its effects. For ourselves, we need to get educated about the new natural order and check-in about our own worries and fears as we look to the future. Only then can we provide compassionate guidance for those we love.

Here are six steps you might follow as you talk to your children:

·        Break the silence: Talk openly with your children about the natural phenomena around us. Watching that torrential rain from Hurricane Ida was a remarkable example of how our weather is changing. Bring up the topic, ask your children what they notice, and share your own impressions of nature's power and presence in our lives.

·        Give the basic facts:  There are many good books for children about climate change - one good example is Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker ( the story of Greta Thunberg and her courageous actions in addressing the world as a young person). Have an age-appropriate conversation with your child and talk about changing weather, the effects of climate change on the plants and animals all around us, and the steps we can take to minimize the changes yet to come.

·        Get outdoors: We are not one with nature, we are nature. The more we realize our place in the cycles of life and the awesome powers of the universe, the more we can appreciate the beauty of what's around us. Being outside with children and exploring the natural world provides a hands-on context for what climate change means in our own backyards.

·        Focus on feelings: Once we have accepted our own feelings about the present and upcoming upheavals in our natural world, we can invite our children to share their own feelings and provide loving attention and gentle guidance. Climate change is already happening to our world, and we already have feelings about what's coming next. Expressing those feelings allows us to breathe deeply, embrace one another, and find our own inner resources.

·        Take action: Get to work - you know the drill! Shop smart, live simply so others can simply live, make informed choices about energy resources, and advocate for political actions that lead to a greener future. Involve your children in your actions and listen to them when they bring home ideas from school and from their friends that you might embrace as a family.

·        Find hope: There are many opportunities being explored to allow humans to continue to live on this planet, even with many changes that may be difficult to embrace. Be available to your loved ones when natural disasters strike and be resilient in helping all of us to bounce back. Simple changes in your family's lifestyle allow children to feel hopeful that they are making a difference, however small.

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