A Guide to Dealing with Eco-Anxiety in Children
What is eco-anxiety? Eco-anxiety, also known as climate anxiety, is a feeling of concern specifically related to environmental issues.
More and more kids are being affected by this phenomenon, with a survey conducted across 10 countries revealing that 75% of young people are dreading how climate change will shape the future.
Eco-anxiety is different from clinical anxiety, but it can still take a toll on mental and physical health. It can be especially overwhelming for younger children, who might lack the tools to manage their anxiety and find themselves increasingly worried about something they feel powerless about.
It is difficult to reassure your kids everything is going to be fine when you might be concerned yourself, therefore it is important to make small steps together towards taking action.
What you can do
Use milder language when talking about climate change
A lot of the time, environmental issues are sensationalised, and for a good reason: scientists, activists and journalists have learned that using shocking language is going to get a reaction out of people. However necessary, this way of presenting the issue can incite feelings of pessimism and hopelessness, and sometimes prevents kids and adults alike from having a realistic view of the impact of climate change on their everyday life.
Here is an article with some useful tips to Explain Climate Change to Kids.
Use Common Anxiety Release Tactics
As mentioned before, eco-anxiety is not a clinical diagnosis, however, common anxiety-relieving tactics can benefit kids and adults alike. Art therapy and Yoga are some approaches we have already covered, but you can also easily find breathing techniques and ways to encourage healthy dialogue online.
Take Action Together
Depending on their age, children might want to get involved in different ways. For younger kids, exploring nature, planting a tree or a flower, or creating some DIYs could be a good way to release some anxiety and learn about the importance of protecting the environment.
Here are some projects you can try together:
- Mother Earth and Climate Change DIY
- Climate Change Science Experiment for Kids
- DIY to Understand the difference between Climate and Weather
- Eco-friendly balloon alternatives
Older kids might want to get more involved. Check your area for trash cleanup initiatives, community vegetable gardens, and work together to reduce your carbon footprint. Voices of Youth has a list of small actions you can take to be more environmentally friendly, plus a lot of useful tips and educational resources.