Keys to Teaching Your Child to Consume Less

Consuming and buying compulsively doesn't make us happy. What's more, it's destroying our planet. In this article you can read some keys to teach your child to consume less.
Keys to Teaching Your Child to Consume Less

Last update: 15 February, 2021

The alarm bells have gone off and it’s urgent that we become aware of the imperative need to take care of our planet. Each and every one of us, with every daily act, must take responsibility for the care of the environment. Therefore, we must reduce the volume of waste or garbage we produce every day. To achieve this, there’s no other recipe than consuming less, much less, than we currently do. With that in mind, it’s essential that we teach our children to consume less.

Buy less, consume less

We live in a society of constant consumption in which we have endless services and products at our fingertips available for immediate purchase. This doesn’t mean that all of them are necessary, neither for our survival nor for our well-being. In other words, if we think about many of the times we buy products – besides food, which meets a vital need – almost everything else is out of desire.

Clothes, shoes, electronics, appliances, junk food, furniture… The list of products we buy without really needing them is endless. Each new thing replaces an old one that, sooner or later, becomes junk. And it’s precisely this constant production of products that quickly become garbage that’s killing our planet.

Therefore, as responsible citizens, we must stop and reduce this cycle that produces so much pollution. In that sense, it’s good to recycle garbage and waste and reuse everything we can before throwing it away. But, mainly, what we should do is consume less and only what’s necessary.

Keys to Teaching Your Child to Consume Less

Importance of teaching children to consume less

Educating our children about conscious and responsible consumption isn’t an easy task. Consuming less is a way of caring for the environment, but it’s also a philosophy of life that adults can pass on to our children, as we must educate them to be aware that material things don’t bring us happiness.

However, all this is achieved by creating habits, day by day, and from an early age. And for this to happen, it’s essential that both parents and educators join forces and coordinate their efforts to achieve it. Furthermore, we can consider some keys that can help to teach children and students to consume less.

“Quality of life isn’t synonymous with the level of consumption; consume less, enjoy more.”

Keys to teaching our children to consume less

  • Don’t waste, so you don’t have to buy more. This is a very simple statement, but it’s an important action when it comes to reducing consumption. Children should learn to take care of things – such as food and water – and not waste them.
  • Take care of what you have. Take care of your clothes, toys, school supplies, books… Making good use of the objects in our environment is important so that they last longer and we don’t have to replace them regularly.
  • Learn to repair what breaks down. Instead of spending all day on the cell phone, children can learn to sew on a button or darn a sock. As parents, we can encourage them to learn how to repair their toys, their bicycle, or their clothes.
  • Convey to them the value of what goes into obtaining things. Children should learn to value the effort and work of the people behind the production of each object or service they consume. As well as learning to value the work of their own parents, which is what allows them to be able to buy things.
Keys to Teaching Your Child to Consume Less
  • Teach them to have a critical conscience with respect to advertising. This means teaching our children not to consider as absolute truth everything they see on television or on social media. They must understand that advertising is there to entertain us, but never to create a need and make us feel bad.
  • Educate them on healthy eating. Eating more vegetables and fruits, and more natural and less processed foods is a way to be healthy and generate less waste. Therefore, our children should know that the more processed food they eat, the more waste, especially plastic, we generate.

The main key: Ask yourselves a lot of questions

In a world where it seems that buying more things is what brings happiness, teaching our children to consume less is a complex task. However, we’d dare to say that there’s one main key in this regard. That key is to teach our children to downplay the importance of consumption. And the best way to go about that is to teach them to ask themselves questions.

Do I really need this? If I buy it, will I use it for a while and then will it stop being as useful? How many of this or that do I already have? Do I want to continue playing in nature and seeing animals?

If I buy less, do I take care of my planet? What if I’m more special because I don’t get carried away by trends and purchases? Who, where, and how is this that I buy manufactured? Does this actually make me happy or does it just give me a momentary feeling of joy?

We must teach our children to question things and to give importance to things other than material objects. They need to learn to have fun, to share, to imagine, to create, and to take care of their home and their planet. Therefore, the key is to teach our children to satisfy their needs, to be well, and to be happy, without the need to consume more and more.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lodeiro, T. (2008)Consumir menos, vivir mejor. Ideas prácticas para un consumo más consciente. Txalaparta. Recuperado de
  • Moulian, T. y Marín, G. (1998)El consumo me consume. Santiago: lom. Recuperado de
  • Latouche, S. (2014)Salir de la sociedad de consumo: voces y vías del decrecimiento. Ediciones Octaedro.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.