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Children

Children, Families, Resources, take eco action, Teenagers

How To Talk About Climate Change to Children

how to talk to kids about climate change

Talking to children about climate change can be daunting. Where to start, what to say, what to do, it can be tough figuring it all out. Here are some hints and tips from parents who have been there before, as well as some useful climate change resources for you and your kids.

In the early years, I thought I had parenting all figured out. Reusable nappies, check. Wooden toys, check. Reusable baby wipes, check. Hand-me-down baby clothes, check. What more could there be to bringing up a child in an eco-conscious way?

Then my kids started to grow up, and now I have a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old on my hands. They are influenced by what their friends are doing, what they see on TV and on social media, and more. It makes green parenting much harder than I ever could have imagined.

And then there’s the responsibility of talking to your children about big issues, such as climate change. That certainly wasn’t in any parenting manual I came across.

How To Talk To Children About Climate Change

Tips on talking to kids about climate change

It can be daunting talking to your kids about an issue as big, complicated, and scary as climate change. However, here are some tips about chatting to them about climate change at any age that will hopefully help make it less daunting for you. I’ve also got some resources for you if you feel like your climate change knowledge is lacking. And I’ve got child-centric climate change resources for your kids if they want to learn more at their own pace.

Tailor Your Approach When Chatting to Children About Climate Change

When I talk to my kids, I tailor my approach to make it age-appropriate. What I talk to my 10-year-old about climate change isn’t necessarily what I talk to my 6-year-old about.

With my 6-year-old, we chat more about nature and the environment. We chat about things that harm the environment, and positive things we can do to help the environment.

I’ve also found it’s easy to talk about changing weather patterns and how that links to climate change without it going too far over her head. More rain and more wind is an easy one to understand, that can be done without it sounding too scary.

My 10-year-old knows and understands a lot more, so we chat about more in-depth issues when she wants to. Sometimes she’ll come to us with questions about climate change, that we try to answer truthfully to the best of our knowledge.

That being said, you might be surprised what your child already knows or understands about climate change. If your kids are older, ask them what they already know. It can be a great starting point for you to chat a little more.

Make Your Daily Life A Learning Experience

reusable products to help against climate change

You don’t have to go straight into the climate change chat head first. Instead, I started out when my kids were toddlers by always trying to make our daily life a learning experience.

It can vary depending on your life, and the things you do. How it looked for us is that I would chat to my kids on the walk to school about why walking is great for us and great for the environment. When we took the bus, train, or tram, it was a great time to chat about why public transport is better for the environment than taking the car. I got my kids to help me wash our reusable products, and I would chat about why reusable products are better for the environment than single-use.

Anything can be a learning experience or a talking point. And by giving your kids this bank of knowledge of positive changes that you can take to help the environment, can then be a useful step towards talking about some of the bigger climate change issues at a more age-appropriate time.

Focus On Action And Hope

I talked to Jen Gale, writer of the site Sustainable(ish) and author of the brilliant The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting, about chatting to kids about climate change. One of her top recommendations that I love is focusing on action.

Jen says: “It’s very easy to get paralysed and overwhelmed. Focus on the things that you can do as a family, and especially if there’s anything that they can take ownership of at the age they are.”

Jen also recommends turning to the famous Fred Rogers quote, which says “Look for the helpers. You can always find people who are helping”. In the case of climate change, Jen recommends focusing on the positive stuff that other people are doing around the world. Jen says “there are so many amazing and inspiring stories out there to share.” Bringing hope to your climate change conversations can help kids to avoid feelings of overwhelm, and helps them focus on solutions.

Make It Clear The Grown-Ups Are Responsible

Something I am hyper-keen to instill in my children is that it isn’t kids who are responsible for taking action on climate change. Whilst the media likes to focus on young climate activists, as a parent I feel that many children unfairly take the burden when it comes to demanding action on climate change when it’s us adults that really need to step up.

I want my kids to have a childhood. So I make a point of talking to them about the adults and organisations doing great things for our planet and for people. I talk about local climate community work. And I talk to my kids about personal choices that my partner and I make – from walking and using public transport where we can, to not eating meat, to using ethical banks that don’t fund fossil fuels, and voting for parties with green policies.

community litter pick

Keep It Local

When talking to young children about climate change, Jen also recommends keeping things local and tangible.

Jen says “It’s hard enough for us as adults to grasp that turning our lights off might make a difference to the size of the polar ice cap, let alone for our kids. Things like litter picking are great, as it’s really easy to see both a cause and effect. You also feel like you’ve made a real difference. Dare I say it, it can also be quite fun too..!”

As a little 8 year old, litter picking was the first environmental activity I took part in. It definitely helped me establish that cause and effect that Jen talks about. This simple activity led me to want to learn more about the environment and ways to help. Being able to physically show them that other people are working towards a common goal can help give them encouragement and hope.

Alternatively, follow any local environmental charities. Then lookout for local family-friendly events that they might organise that you can take part in.

I’ve also taken my kids along to climate marches before. Something like this may or may not be suitable or accessible for you and your kids. However, I found it was a great way to tangibly demonstrate that it’s not just our family who are concerned about the climate.

Nuture A Love of Nature

Even if your kids are too young to talk to about climate change, you can help spark a love of the environment by nurturing a love of nature.

Jen says “We only protect what we love, and kids are fascinated by the world around them from a very young age. Nurture that natural curiosity. Point out nature when you see it, note the changing seasons, talk about how you can encourage more wildlife into your garden if you have one. There’s a great free app called ‘Seek’ from The WWF that allows you to take pictures of any plants, bugs, animals you see and then IDs them for you. My kids love using this.”

Watch The News

What also got me interested in all things environmental was my dad’s viewing habits. You see, whenever he was home from work, he always had the news on.

Seeing and hearing all this news from a young age really helped me connect the dots between the impacts of man and climate change.

Now, I don’t shy my kids away from the news. I find it good for them to know what’s going on in the world, within reason. They watch Newsround at school, which provides kid-centric news, without shying away from big issues. Then we chat about the news at home. Chatting about what they’ve seen on the news, helps them process what they’ve seen. And for climate change stories, it can help to discuss this further with adults rather than internalising negative emotions.

Useful Climate Change Resources For Children (And Adults!)

child holding pine cones

It can be daunting talking to kids about climate change. Especially if you don’t feel like you have the knowledge to be able to do so. Thankfully there are some really useful kids climate change resources that you can tap into, or let your kids have a look at by themselves.

Climate Change: The Facts

Whilst you certainly don’t need to have all the answers before you chat to your kids, you might find it helpful to have a little background knowledge. If you need an easy-to-understand primer about climate change, then watch David Attenborough’s Climate Change: The Facts before you talk to your kids. This is a no-nonsense guide to climate change that makes it easy to understand the causes of climate change and its impacts, as well as things we can do.

For older kids, it’s also a great introduction to climate change. My daughter watched this at 8 and it didn’t terrify her. However, I’d recommend watching it first before you decide if it’s suitable for your kids.

BBC Newsround

BBC’s Newsround has a useful short introduction to climate change that can make for a great starting point for a conversation.

WWF

For kids aged 7 to 11, the WWF has a useful and free downloadable climate change pack for teachers. You don’t have to be a teacher to download it, and it is full of useful climate change talking and learning points.

NASA’s Climate Kids

NASA has a really great website devoted to teaching kids about climate change and getting them talking. Here you’ll find games, activities, videos, and the answer to big climate change questions. From explaining what the greenhouse effect is, to how do we know the climate is changing, to the difference between weather and climate, and explaining what is climate change, it’s all here for kids to explore at their leisure.

Do you have any other tips about talking to children about climate change? Do share!

Babies, Children, Families, Teenagers, Whole Family

Best Kids Water Bottles – Tried and Tested

Let me save you from the thirsty work of finding the best kids water bottles. My kids and I have tried and tested different water bottles over the years, and here are our leakproof favourites. These include the best plastic-free bottles.

The benefits of using reusable water bottles over single-use water bottles are well known. However, finding a kid’s reusable water bottle fit for purpose is a whole quest on its own.

The other day I was browsing Instagram and stumbled upon this illustration from the artist Grace Farris. It made me laugh in recognition. In the quest to find the best kids water bottle, I think all parents have ended up with a Mr Mildew, or a Lil’ Leaky. Certainly, in my ten years of being a parent, this has been the case for us.

There are definitely a load of dud water bottles out there. From ones that leak, to the tricky to clean ones that harbour mildew. From ones where the paint scratches off them if you even so much as look at them. To ones that go cloudy after two washes. However, there are some really great kids water bottles out there that are fit for purpose, and that do last a really long time.

The Best Kids Water Bottles

Image of a girl playing outdoors with a blue text box that says the best kids water bottles - tried and tested.

Over the last ten years, we have put many a kids water bottle through their paces. From school days to days out, to sports activities, camping, and more. You name, our water bottles have been through it. So here are our favourite kids water bottles that really go the distance. From plastic-free water bottles to easy cleaning bottles, to the most durable bottles. And sustainability doesn’t have to come at a high price. These start from a budget-friendly £5.

Some schools require kids to take a clear plastic water bottle with them, to make sure there is only water in the bottle. Therefore, I have included an option for this. However, if your kid’s school doesn’t have this rule, then I’ve included plastic-free water bottles made from metal.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links.

Camelbak

Camelbak Eddy Kids Water Bottles

Capacity: 400 ml

Best for: kids aged 3 – 9, or if your school requires a clear water bottle

We have been using Camelbak plastic kids water bottles for about six years now, and I have to say their Eddy+® bottles* are my all-time favourite kids water bottles. I bought my kids one of these water bottles each, and it’s been our best water bottle investment.

Camelbak says that these water bottles are spill-proof when open and leak-proof when closed. I can attest to this. These do not leak. My kids have been using these water bottles for school and for leisure purposes, and they are the only ones I trust inside their schoolbag. Any other water bottle goes in the outside pocket!

What I also love is that there are no fiddly sports caps or screw tops for little fingers to struggle with. Kids can simply flip up the chunky silicone straw and they are good to go. There are no shouts of “mum, can you open this for me”.

Durability and Sustainability

The plastic bottles are lightweight and incredibly durable and can withstand being dropped. The bottles are also dishwasher safe and stand up to repeated dishwasher cycles. The paint does not fade or flake off. We are still using the original bottle I bought my eldest six years ago, and it’s still in great condition. This is despite having gone through the dishwasher what must be hundreds of times now.

What I also like is that each individual component comes apart for easy cleaning. There are no areas for mould or mildew to grow.

In sustainability terms, the plastic bottles are BPS-free, BPF-free, BPA-free, and they contain recycled materials. However, if you would prefer a plastic-free water bottle, then Camelbak now offers a stainless steel version. The metal bottles are insulated, so will keep your kids drinks hot or cold.

And what I especially love about Camelbak is that all of the individual components can be purchased separately. So if the spout needs replacing, you can buy that without having to replace the whole bottle. Sustainability at its best. For extra peace of mind, the bottle is also covered with Camelbak’s lifetime guarantee.

Buy Camelbak kids bottles from Alpinetrek* for £14.95.


Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen collection

Capacity: 355 ml to 532 ml

Best for: kids needing an insulated bottle

If you are specifically looking for plastic-free kids water bottles, then Klean Kanteen makes for a great choice. These stainless steel bottles are durable and long-lasting. We’ve had ours for four years, and they are still looking as good as new. And as they are insulated, they keep drinks hot or cold for hours.

For little kids, you can get small-sized bottles*, that fit nicely into small hands. These have a leak-proof sippy cap, which is easy to drink from and isn’t bulky or heavy for little ones to tote around. For older kids, you can buy bigger bottles, with a variety of different caps – from screw top to sports cap – to fit their preference.

My gripes are that the painted versions are not dishwasher safe – they do have to be hand-washed. If you are a busy parent, this isn’t always practical. And if dropped, the paintwork can get scratched. Ours have faired well, and aren’t particularly scratched. However, do opt for the unpainted version if either of these points will be an issue for you.

My other gripe is that the sippy cap seal can be a little fiddly to fit. It comes apart for easy cleaning, however, if you don’t get the seal in the slot just right then it can leak. We’ve had no such issues with the screw top bottle though.

Despite a couple of issues, I’ve found Klean Kanteen to be a great flexible choice. They’re great at keeping kids water cold on a hot day (just add some ice cubes). And in cold weather when we’re out on long walks, they keep hot chocolate toasty warm.

Find the small bottles on &Keep*, and the larger bottles on Amazon*


Blafre Water Bottles

Capacity: 300 750 ml

Best for: if you are looking for a water bottle made out of sustainable materials

The Blafre water bottle* is a relatively new favourite of mine and my kids.

It’s made from recycled stainless steel for easy cleaning. There’s no paintwork on the bottle, so it can’t scratch or flake off. The lid is made from BPA-free and Phthalate-free materials. And, it can go in the dishwasher. The holy grail of water bottles!

We’ve not had any leaks. However, for little kids, my top tip is to switch the screw cap out for the non-spill drinking spout. This can be purchased separately for £7.50 and comes in a variety of colours. This spout makes it easier for little kids to drink from and makes it easier for them to open the bottle. It also greatly decreases the risk of leaks.

It’s not insulated, so won’t keep your drinks particularly hot or cold, however, if you are looking for a super sustainable plastic-free water bottle made from recycled materials then this is the one.

Buy the 300ml Blafre water bottles from Kidly* for £16 or find the larger sizes on Amazon*.


IKEA Kids Water Bottles

Ikea enkelsparig water bottle

Capacity: 500 ml

Best for: kids aged 8+, or for a plastic-free water bottle on a budget

IKEA’s budget-friendly Enkelsparig metal water bottles come in at just £5. There are four different colourways, meaning no one gets confused over whose bottle is whose.

These bottles have a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, young kids might struggle with the screwtop. We’ve had a couple of leaks when my littlest didn’t quite manage to screw the lid back on properly. This means this one lives in the side pocket of her backpack. As such, I recommend this bottle for older kids, who are more able to deal with a screwtop.

The only other drawback is that this is a popular bottle. Other kids in my youngest daughter’s class also have these bottles. As such, we often end up with other kids bottles in my daughter’s backpack at the end of the school day!

However, for the price, this is a great budget water bottle that’s practical and long-lasting. There’s no paint that can get scratched off. It’s also completely dishwasher safe, meaning it doesn’t sit beside the sink for ages waiting to be hand washed. There are also only two component parts – the bottle and the lid – so there is no place for mildew to grow.

Buy direct from IKEA for £5.


Your Recommendations?

I’ll keep updating this post, as I find more great kids water bottles. If you have any recommendations, do let me know! And if you are looking for more eco-friendly kids school supplies, then do check out my guide to eco-friendly school supplies for more ideas – from lunchboxes to schoolbags and more.