As adults we know our responsibilities when it comes to littering. We (should!) know that it is an offence to drop litter or to fly-tip and we understand that if we break the law then there are consequences that go with that such as being issued a fixed penalty notice. We also understand why preventing litter is so important for our environment and communities. But how do we explain this to children and to help them to understand?
A child who drops a crisp packet on the floor after they have finished won’t think about the wildlife that could get trapped inside or hurt. The teenager who throws his half-eaten sandwich won’t be thinking about the impact that little could on the community as it encourages vermin and pests to the area. Children won’t think about the cost impact that littering has or the manpower it takes to clear areas. They are children, why would they think of that?
This is where it comes down to us as adult to teach and education the younger generation about how important it is that they dispose of their litter correctly. It doesn’t have to be a case of sitting your children down and showing them facts and figures about littering. With a little bit of planning and a bit of creativity you can make learning about littering fun and a family activity.
Why not talk about litter when you are out with your children? If you are walking to the park you could ask your child what they can see around them. Ask them what they think doesn’t belong on the floor and what belong in a bin and then ask them why they think that it shouldn’t be on the floor. Encourage them to think about local wildlife and how they can be impacted by litter and hopefully this will help them with their understand and be the start of good habits.
Another activity that is proving popular at the moment is litter picking. You can get in touch with your local authority who may be able to provide you with litter picking equipment which means you are your family can head out on a walk and clean up your local early whilst doing so. Not only is it a great way to help improve your local community, but it’s also a great way for your children to see the scale of litter that is around them as unless they are actively looking for it, it will probably just bend into the background in their day-to-day life. You could even make it into a bit of a game and see who can fill their bag first. Just remember to watch your children as they litter pick to make sure they are staying safe and not touching any rubbish with their hands.
Here at LA Support, we are trying to do our bit to help education of the younger generation too as education is prevention. We have partnered with Clean Up Britain to offer an education programme that can be run in schools either by our staff (in a COVID safe way) or by the teachers at the school. We are able to offer all of the material for each age group to help make learning about litter fun and educational and what’s more…it’s free!! If you’d like to find out more then contact us now to see how we can support the young people in your area.