If, during play time, your child expresses a desire to help an endangered species, remember that children can inspire great action if given the opportunity.
Last week Miss Possum and I were playing wombats and whilst learning about their burrows, Miss Possum spied a picture of Australia. She pointed to a small shaded area in the north of Australia and asked if wombats live there too. I said they did but that they might not for long because there’s not many left. I explained that the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat was close to being extinct.
Big words for a four year old but important words.
When she replied, ‘Mum, we must save them,’ I knew that I shouldn’t ignore this opportunity. Like the dead sea turtle we found, I didn’t shade her eyes from the truth.
I understand that many of us don’t want to spread doom and gloom to our child but I have seen many children hear sad stories about animals and rather than getting upset, they turn it into an opportunity to help. It shows that our children have empathy and initiative.
Many children, however, don’t know how to help, so brainstorming ways to help together is a great starting point. Letting your child pick the way they would like to help the animal is an important opportunity for them to take ownership of their ideas.
And so started the conversation about helping wombats. After thinking about ways she could help save wombats, Miss Possum decided she wanted to write a letter. She didn’t understand who she was going to write to, so we had a brief discussion about what a government is and how they might be able to help. Miss Possum wrote to Tony Burke, Environmental Minister for Australia.
Here’s her letter to Tony Burke about saving the wombats. It might be an innocent little letter from a four year old but if every child wrote a letter, there would be thousands of reasons to save the environment our wildlife lives in.
How to help your child write a letter to the government?
- Find out your state and or national environment minister and get their address.
- Ask your child what they want to say to the government before starting to write.
- Make writing easy for your child by helping them with their letters and words. This isn’t the time to get them frustrated about their writing; you want their thoughts to flow out onto the paper.
- For older children, ask them questions about what the government should do to save the wildlife habitat in question.
- Praise them for having the initiative to create change.
- Think of other ways to help save wildlife.
Why not write a letter yourself and show your child that animals and the environment are important to you too?