Many parents consider their children to be’mini educators’ at their home because of how they view the environment.
More than seven in 10 parents consider their children ‘mini educators’ at home, crediting them for changing attitudes and behaviour towards littering, use of plastic and food consumption.
The detailed report of 1,000 youngsters aged 6 to 12, and their parents, delves into children’s views and insights on how behaviours at home affect the planet as a whole.
It was found that primary schools have a significant influence on issues such climate change and family eating of meat.
Children revealed they’d consider recyclables being incorrectly thrown in the bin an illegal offence (33 per cent).
And they’d like to see more meat-free meals served in a bid to help the environment, with 36 per cent wanting a way to have their say on government decisions around climate change.
These findings were part of a comprehensive document produced by Birds Eye’s Green CuisineThis was supported by Dr. Elizabeth Kilbey, a child clinical psychologist.
Dr. Kilbey said: “I think it’s essential this generation’s voice is heard.
“The research has highlighted how children have important views they’d like to be taken seriously by adults on everything from food to the planet.
“However, there’s some really interesting insight on their opinions of doing things like cutting meat from their diets a little more to help protect the planet.
“Recent stats from YouGov show that there is an increasing trend towards consumers adopting more flexitarian diets, with many believing this is healthier for them – with the added bonus that we know eating more plant-based foods could help to cut carbon emissions by up to 60 per cent.
“This research is shining a light on how smart and clued-up kids are in a bid to bring them into the conversations that will impact their futures.”
Further insight from the report also revealed over a third (34 per cent) of children have asked an adult if they could eat a meal that doesn’t include any meat – with 42 per cent reckoning they probably wouldn’t notice if meat wasn’t in their meals.
45 percent said they wish adults would listen more to them about what kind of food they want.
Mini-educators should be heard
Children revealed they have taught their parents about why littering is bad, how everyone needs to stop using so much plastic – and the importance of trees and plants to the planet; with nine in 10 keen to learn more about how they can do their bit.
61% of children have told an adult that they didn’t recycle something when it comes to getting rid waste.
Children also indicated that they listen most to teachers when it comes to learning about protecting the environment, ahead of family and activists like Greta Thunberg.
In a sobering admission from kids, eight in 10 have visibly witnessed pollution like dirty smoke from cars or factories, with 92 per cent saying it’s everyone’s responsibility to look after the planet.
While 65 per cent aren’t clued up on the meaning of climate change, according to the OnePoll data.
Victoria Westwood, from Green Cuisine, which is launching its ‘love me or I’m free’ on-pack promotion in December, added: “It’s easy to write off what children say sometimes, however, it’s clear many are the mini educators of the household and parents are actually learning from them.
“Children are hungry to learn and better the planet, whether that be through small and simple changes like eating less meat-based meals a week or more drastic changes linked to saving energy and reducing pollution.
“Our recent study has shown plant-based frozen meals often have a smaller carbon footprint on average compared to red meat.
“It’s these small swaps from meat to plant-based meals that we believe can have a really positive impact on our planet.”
If they were in charge of the country, what food changes would kids make?
- Eating whatever I want for breakfast/lunch/dinner
- Teach children to cook starting at an early age
- Choose the meals I want to eat each day
- Can I eat my food any way I like, e.g. dessert first
- Don’t have to eat dinner at the table if I want
- More education about which foods are good or bad for you
- Listen to your children when they ask for what they want for dinner
- Parents aren’t allowed to tell kids what to eat
- Schools should be more open to meat-free meals
- Everyone eats a balanced diet of meat and non-meat meals.
If they were the country’s leader, what lifestyle changes would kids make?
- Protect all animals
- Plant more trees
- There are lessons for everyone about how to save the planet
- To reduce pollution, everyone would be eligible for free bicycles
- Reuse household objects
- Climate change is a matter of concern for children.
- To save energy, lights are turned off at bedtime.
- All cars should be electric to reduce the pollution
- It is illegal to dispose of items that can be recycled in a bin.
- Construction of fewer homes and roads
If they were in charge of education, the kids would make educational changes.
- No homework
- No school uniforms
- Learn more about wildlife and nature
- Outside lessons
- Parents only work one day per week, while their children are with them the rest of time
- Cooking lessons, once a week
- Video games can be used as lessons in school
- Learn more about climate change
- Music on in the Classroom
- The teachers learn from the children
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