Educating Our Children on Responsible Consumption

Caring for the environment is everyone's responsibility. Today, we'll talk about how to educate our children on responsible consumption.
Educating Our Children on Responsible Consumption
María Matilde

Written and verified by the pedagogue and trainer María Matilde.

Last update: 17 February, 2023

Educating our children on responsible consumption implies that they’ll develop conscious and critical attitudes when buying products, together with other actions, such as garbage recycling, energy saving, and water care, which are fundamental for the preservation of our environment.

Preserving the environment by caring for it is possible if we incorporate sustainable habits and adopt attitudes of respect for the environment.

What is responsible consumption?

Responsible consumption is an attitude on the part of consumers and users that implies conscious and critical consumption. This means that when buying a product or contracting a service, we ensure that it has the least possible impact on the environment.

Responsible consumption involves rethinking our needs in order to satisfy them, thus contributing to a more sustainable and just society. And it means the need to develop practices on personal, institutional, organizational, and business levels that contribute in this regard.

It’s essential to adopt actions, daily routines, and responsible decisions regarding what kind of products to buy. For example, which are environmentally friendly and which are dispensable because they’re not environmentally friendly or because we don’t need them.

A piece of earth in a piggy bank.

Responsible consumption also implies knowing and deciding about the companies that make the products we use and knowing if they comply with all the rights and principles of social justice. We must opt for sustainable and fair production-distribution-consumption-waste models.

Educating our children on responsible consumption

Although the educational system is also responsible for the education of our children, the daily life habits within our homes are where responsible consumption must truly begin and be exercised. Educating our children in responsible consumption is an unavoidable responsibility, both in regard to school institutions and parents.

First of all, we must start from the premise that the first step to educating our children on responsible consumption is by example. We can’t get our children to adopt sustainable habits and develop practices of respect for the environment if they don’t see it in their own family environment.

To educate our children on responsible consumption we must consider the following:

  • Developing in them behavior patterns based on our own example, promoting values that care for our environmental surroundings.
  • Explaining and informing them about the environmental repercussions that the purchase of certain products may have.
  • Encourage fair trade. Explain and inform our children that every product has a history that involves cultivation, harvesting, and manufacturing process, and that it’s people who make it. And every person has the right to good working conditions.
  • Teaching them to tolerate no for an answer, and the reasons why you can’t buy everything they see and want.
  • Showing constant respect in all the daily practices that we carry out at home for the three R’s, “Recycle, Reuse, Reduce.” This means, in the first place, throwing garbage in the corresponding containers, and actions such as reusing paper, and reducing our use of plastic bottles.
    A person recycling a plastic bottle.
  • Teach them the value of work, not to waste, and not to spend or make purchases unnecessarily. Our children should be aware of the effort it takes to get things.
  • Make sure they develop daily habits of responsible consumption, such as recycling waste correctly, not wasting water, and saving energy.
  • Take our children to fair trade markets, buy second-hand products, reuse and repair products, etc.

Before buying…

“Do I really need it?”. This is the question we should ask ourselves before buying or consuming any product or service. And, if necessary, evaluate not only its quality and price but also assess its environmental and social impact.

In other words, if we really need to buy a product, consider the responsibility of the company in charge of its production and its commitment both to caring for the environment and respecting human rights.

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The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.