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4 tips for responding to children’s ‘eco-anxiety’

2 February 2021

Most children know about climate change and are worried about how it will affect their future. How can we respond to their concerns in a genuine way without causing further alarm?

Emerging Minds has published a new short article by Professor Ann Sanson on emotional reactions children may have to climate change and tips on how to respond.

Children’s emotional reactions include:

  • fear and anxiety (what the future will bring)
  • distress, grief and a sense of loss (about places and animals being lost)
  • anger and frustration (at adults for causing the issue and not fixing it)
  • helplessness (feeling they can’t stop climate change)
  • despair and hopelessness (believing decision-makers will not take the action needed).

How teachers, educators and parents can respond to support children’s emotional wellbeing:

  1. Listen and respond to their feelings and concerns.
  2. Find out what they know and build their understanding.
  3. Build ‘realistic hope’.
  4. Build their capacity to take action.

There are useful resources listed at the end of the article for further exploration too.