To work out if the children in your world are ready to talk, listen carefully to what they say and the questions they ask. Even if you haven’t talked about climate change with them, chances are they will have heard about it from friends or at school. Download the guide.
For very young kids it’s best to talk about the environmentally friendly things you do every day like composting, riding a bike or catching a train. Share your love of nature with them.
For primary school aged kids it’s important to respond to their questions with simple and honest answers.
Acknowledge that climate change is a big problem, but one that you and many others are working to fix. Bring the conversation about climate change into everyday situations – like cycling instead of driving, choosing solar panels or going to rallies.
For older children: Most teenagers will know a fair bit about climate change. Some will want to talk through the issue, while others will feel overwhelmed or hopeless and want to avoid the topic altogether.
Taking action on climate change is an excellent way of dealing with the anxiety your teenager might feel. Listen to their ideas about how to protect our environment and help them to set goals, working through the steps they need to get started.
For kids of any age, it’s important to: show that many people are working to solve climate change.
Explain there are things that they can do to help – like writing letters, recycling, riding bikes instead of driving cars.
Show them how big problems in the past have been solved through many people working together.
Work out what you and your child can do to make a difference.
It's possible that you yourself might be managing feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness and fear about climate change.
It’s important to acknowledge your own feelings like you would your child’s, as a reasonable reaction to a big problem, and then find ways to cope. Some useful coping strategies are to:
Talk with friends
Spend time in nature
Or join an advocacy or community group.
Remember you don’t need to do all these things immediately or all at once, but doing something is important.
Remember you don't need to do all these things immediately or all at once, but doing something is important.
If you would like to print or keep a version of this How do I talk to my kids about climate change? guide you can download it.