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 found primary schools are influential on issues such as what can be done about climate change and whether the family should eat 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.
The findings were part of a comprehensive report produced by Birds Eye’s Green Cuisine which has been backed by child clinical psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Kilbey.
'Mini educators', big plans
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.
While 45 per cent wished adults listened to them more about what food they want to consume.
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.
When it comes to getting rid of waste, 61 per cent of kids have told an adult off for not recycling something they should have.
Next generation are hungry for change
Children also revealed they listen to teachers most when it comes learning about protecting the planet, ahead of TV shows, family and even 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.”
Food changes kids would make if they were in charge of the country
- Eating whatever I want for breakfast/lunch/dinner
- Teach children how to cook from an earlier age in the kitchen
- Get to choose the meals I eat everyday
- Can eat my food in any order I want e.g. dessert first
- Don’t have to eat dinner at the table if I want
- More education on which foods are good and bad for you
- Kids must be listened to for what they want for dinner
- Parents aren’t allowed to tell kids what to eat
- Meat-free meals to be more freely available at schools
- Everyone eats a balance of meat and meat-free dinners
Lifestyle changes kids would make if they were in charge of the country
- Protect all animals
- Plant more trees
- Lessons for everyone on how to protect the planet
- Everyone would get free bicycles to reduce pollution
- Reuse household items
- Kids get a say in governmental decisions around climate change
- Lights get turned off everywhere at bedtime to save energy
- Make all cars electric to reduce pollution
- Throwing things that could be recycled in the bin would be illegal
- Building less homes and roads
Education changes kids would make if they were in charge of the country
- No homework
- No school uniforms
- Learn more about nature and wildlife
- Having lessons outside
- Parents only work one day a week and play with kids the rest of the time
- Cooking lessons once a week
- Video games to be brought in as lessons at school
- Learn more about climate change
- Music on in the classroom
- Kids teach the teachers