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How can we teach kids not to drop litter?

I'm quite surprised to be writing this, because it seems like a no-brainer. Of course we all teach our kids not to drop rubbish, don't we?! And then I got a group email from my boys' school today saying that children had been seen dropping sweet wrappers in the school playground at home time, and could we all remind our children to use the bins... Am I alone in being shocked and how can we make sure kids think to put rubbish in the bin?

Seeking Opinion Child Behaviour 3 years ago
Holly Seddon admin
Holly Seddon
Editor-in-chief of
Kent, UK

1 expert has answered

expert answer
Lorraine Allman expert
Lorraine Allman Author, Businesswoman, Mum GB
Careers expert

Holly, I think I'm more saddened than surprised by what you've written. The most obvious answer to the headline question about how we can teach kids not to drop litter is of course like most things, for us to model that ourselves. if a parent drops rubbish on the pavement or out of the car (something I see quite often) then that is telling the child it's okay to do this. If, however, they hold on to the piece of rubbish and make a point of telling the child 'I'm hanging on to this until we find the rubbish bin to put it in' and make a game of it i.e. guess what color the bin will be, first one to find the rubbish bin gets to choose what's for tea tonight etc.

Choosing not to drop rubbish on the pavement or anywhere-else other than the bin, can also provide one of those lovely 'teachable moments' too of course - an opportunity to talk about the environment, respect and consideration for others, animals etc. and for the street cleaners whose job it is to tidy up behind us.

I am saddened that something as basic as teaching your child to put rubbish in a bin appears to be of little importance, and even more saddened by the poor role modeling of adults. We have a certain drive-thru nearby and my son will regularly see a member of staff out in hi-vis clothing walking along the pavements picking up the fast food wrappings people have left behind. They're out in all weathers and he can't understand why people are making them go out and do that, especially when it's windy and raining. He's even offered to go out and help them. People not modeling this simplest of behaviours (putting rubbish in the bin) should be ashamed.

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Opinion 3 years ago

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