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What your kids should know about global warming

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Invest in our planet’s future

As we work on ways to help conserve natural resources and protect the environment, global warming is a huge consideration. Invest in the future by helping your child understand, in age-appropriate ways, how global warming affects our world.
Save the Earth

To help soothe your child’s concerns, come up with ways to focus on conserving resources as a family.

It’s important to talk about global warming with your little ones in an age-appropriate way. You want to inspire your children to help the environment without scaring them. Kids have wild imaginations and can quickly jump to the conclusion that we’re about to go the way of the dinosaurs. Soothe concerns and inspire activism as you talk to your child about climate change.

Compare our atmosphere to a greenhouse

The greenhouse effect isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s what allows our atmosphere to sustain life.

Show kids how real greenhouses keep plants safe and warm through winter months. That’s what our atmosphere does to protect us from space. When you use this comparison, help kids understand that it’s important for us to keep the atmosphere in our “greenhouse” at a regular temperature.

You don’t need to go into detail about the dangers of global warming in the future. Instead, let your kids know that it’s important to keep the temperature normal, just like it’s important to keep our body temperatures normal.

Talk about what puts our greenhouse at risk

Help your kids understand that a variety of human behaviors create emissions that contribute to global warming. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the most common culprits are electricity production, transportation, industry, buildings, agriculture and deforestation. Almost everything humans do affects our climate and our planet. There’s no easy solution for global warming because our very existence is contributing to it. Talk to your kids about the need for change on a massive scale, and the fact that it takes time for everyone to change habits.

Learn about celebrating Earth Day with kids >>

Reduce your carbon footprint as a family

Carbon footprint

Kids can feel helpless when it comes to making a difference with something as massive as climate change. Help your kids come up with real ways to help the environment every day. Encourage them to talk to their friends about climate change. When everyone talks about conservation, the conversation grows and more people change the way they live. Use the EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator with your kids to get an idea of how your family can work together to reduce your carbon footprint. This can be a great way for older kids to see science in action.

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Teach your kids that they can make a difference

Instead of presenting climate change as an inevitability, present it as something that your kids can join the fight against. Their generation can influence the reduction of emissions that negatively impact our atmosphere. That impact can start now through establishing good recycling habits and by conserving resources. Help older kids volunteer and join conservation and recycling organizations at school. Give younger kids the chance to raise awareness by partnering with schools, businesses and neighborhood associations to encourage recycling and conservation.

More Earth Day activities for kids

5 Earth-friendly outings with your kids
Kids vs Global Warming: How teens are making a difference
Earth Day traditions kids will love

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