How to help kids overcome eco-anxiety
We are now experiencing the impacts of climate change on a regular basis, and are seeing greater and more consistent news coverage about it. Therefor it is not surprising that levels of anxiety about the climate crisis are increasing in all age groups, in particular our children, who may not pose the coping skills necessary to deal with those feelings. As parents, it’s not always easy to talk about these issues and feel equipped to answer their questions, especially when it comes to something as big and complicated as climate change. Is there a proper way to address our children’s worries about the environment? Earth Rangers recently conducted research to uncover new findings and insights about eco-anxiety in children and develop tactics to combat it. Read on to find out what we learned.
What is eco-anxiety?
Eco-Anxiety is a term used to describe feelings of worry, fear, or uncertainty about the future of our planet due to climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental problems. It is also a perfectly reasonable response to the issues facing our planet. The good news is there are some very effective ways to help kids deal with eco-anxiety.
Top 5 Ways to Support Kids with Eco-Anxiety
Provide space and opportunities to discuss climate change and other environmental concerns, and allow your kids to identify and express their feelings about these issues. Their concerns about the environment are real, and with the right support, so is their ability to act. Click here to download a wearable pair of animal ears to start the conversation and show your children that you’re all ears.
The Quick tips
● Talk to your kids about environmental stories they may hear in the news such as floods or wildfires. Ask them how they feel
● Talk about positive environmental news stories too – let them share how that makes them feel!
● Talking about these issues makes children know that these issues are important and that their concerns are normal and accepted
Offer opportunities to learn about climate change and suggest actions to protect the natural environment. A great place to start is the Earth Rangers app: a fun and educational tool to help kids take control of their eco-anxiety and learn about the many issues related to climate change. Click here to download the Earth Rangers app. Kids will have access to the Wild Wire blog in the app where they’ll have a database of wonderful educational articles. The Wild Wire blog can also be accessed on our website by clicking here.
The Quick tips
● More of a listener? Check out the Earth Rangers Podcast for another great resource to learn about the environment!
● After learning about an issue, discuss it as a family. What actions can you take to address it?
3) Environmental Stewardship
Find opportunities to spend more time outdoors to help foster a deeper connection to nature and spark new, tangible ways that kids can protect the natural environment. A great place to start is by completing eco-activities! Click here for a database of fun, educational, eco-activities that your kids can complete to start turning their eco-anxiety into eco-action and connect with nature.
The Quick tips
● To get you started here are some AMAZING eco-activities that you can do outside close to home: create a backyard habitat for bugs or small animals, plant a pollinator garden, organize a shoreline clean-up.
● Find sustainable and eco-friendly materials to complete crafts!
Make conservation activities and learning about the natural environment something for kids to look forward to. When kids complete missions in the Earth Rangers app, they can level up and win badges encouraging them to keep up the great work! Click here to download the Earth Rangers app.
The Quick tips
● Besides the app – why not try a fun and exciting conservation game like a Scavenger Hunt?
● Games are amazing at simplifying complex concepts into fun and attainable information.
Give kids ways to teach you and other adults how to protect nature. Help them with their eco-activities, missions, or even check out our blog articles together and let your kids show you their favourite facts about the environment, biodiversity, and conservation!