As a parent, reading things like “water scarcity will affect nearly 2 billion people in less than a decade” is very scary. It’s hard to imagine that our children will grow up in a world where isn’t a 100% guarantee. So how do we teach kids about the impending water crisis, and how do we raise them so they know what to expect without being scared?
It Starts Young
Next time your kid wants to play in the sink for 20 minutes, just splashing in the water coming out of the faucet, try talking to them about the concept of saving water, and only using water for its intended purposes. Also make sure that your children see you modeling what you preach; don’t sit in the shower for 45 minutes every day and don’t wash your car 4 times a week. It’s the little things, but they add up. People who respect water and their access to it will raise children who understand that water is not necessarily a given.
Talk to the School
Most school districts have at least a small water conservation program, whether that means signs up in the bathroom or an actual unit teaching kids about water. What needs to happen, though, is a much stronger push for parents and teachers to model appropriate water conservation efforts, and to help our kids learn about science and technology that could help us in the future. Kids are going to be the ones fixing the water crisis, after all, so why not give them a proper education so they can get started?
Tell Them the Truth
The hardest part about being a parent is knowing how to handle difficult situations, and worrying about the possibility of our children have a tougher future than we live now is scary. But when it comes to something like the water crisis, telling children that their actions have consequences is a great way to help (hopefully) reverse the damage we’ve caused this far. Letting them know that their help in conserving water does make a difference, and that helping build wells all over the world does save lives, and that you don’t need to water your lawn three times a week can help them grow up to see that there are ways to solve a problem by making a conscious effort.
Create Opportunities for Them to Help\
The other thing many parents struggle with is how to tell their children about a problem and then figure out ways to help them fix it without carrying them. When it comes to the water crisis, the reality is that our children are going to have to deal with this problem long after we, as their parents, are gone. For this reason, we must set them up, educate them, and create opportunities for them to help others who are going to be more affected by the water crisis. Help them volunteer, teach them to use water well, and help them move forward into adulthood educated and prepared.