The earlier kids are aware of the positive impact they can have on the environment, the more likely these habits will become part of their daily lives.
"When children are given everything they need, it’s easy for them to believe that resources are limitless," explains Jessica Swainston, psychologist at AI and psychology-led app Wing. "It’s a good idea to educate children about finite resources and environmental damage from a young age, so they understand it’s important and are inclined to make an effort."
If you’re looking to encourage your child to recycle this week, here are some suggestions…
Make it easy
In order to make recycling become an unconscious habit for children, Swainston’s top piece of advice is to make things as simple as possible. "Make sure household bins are easily accessible and help children identify them by labelling and colour matching them to the bins outside," she advises. "This way, children will automatically put their rubbish in the designated ‘paper’ bin, for example."
Particularly when talking to young children about the task at hand, keep language clear and simple, so it’s easy to follow.
Talk about it from a young age
"If parents simply allow their child to expose of their waste carelessly, they will not understand its damaging impact on the environment," Swainston says. "If good habits are instilled in childhood, they are more likely to be carried forward into adulthood."
An important part of this is leading by example, and making sure you’re being as recycling-conscious and eco-friendly as you can around the house.
Use the opportunity to talk about the environment
It’s great to get into the habit of properly recycling, but Swainston also thinks it’s important you educate kids on why they should be doing it.
Swainston thinks you can still make this fun and interactive, saying: "Parents can teach children that sustainability goes beyond recycling, by teaching them about re-purposing. Parents can create fun craft sessions where they teach their child to make new items with recyclable materials. For example, together they could turn a tin can into wind chimes or make a bird feeder out of plastic bottles."
It could also be a good opportunity to take your kids out into nature, and show them what they’ll be protecting if they continue to do their bit for the environment.