4 tips for responding to children’s ‘eco-anxiety’
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?
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:
- Listen and respond to their feelings and concerns.
- Find out what they know and build their understanding.
- Build ‘realistic hope’.
- Build their capacity to take action.
There are useful resources listed at the end of the article for further exploration too.