Explaining veganism to a child can seem quite tricky. You can’t just show them a video of a cow getting slaughtered and be done with it. Plus, when it comes to kids, you also need to handle the effects of peer pressure on them. This guide offers the simplest, most loving way with which you can teach your kids all about becoming vegan without hitting any landmines.
Tell Them What It Means
Kids are smart and more often than not, they need more than being told, “you can’t eat this or that.” Think back to the times when the adults in your life gave you an order that you were expected to follow without justification. If you’re like most people, you probably obeyed but weren’t happy about it, until you gathered enough courage to rebel. Even worse, you might have felt unheard and unseen, given that you were only expected to follow and not understand or express your opinions.
That being said, veganism is a lifestyle and it can’t be forced upon someone regardless of age. If you’ve made the change, you must have had a significant reason to do so. After all, why bother going against the dominant flow if you don’t have such a strong conviction? That’s what your kids need. The same conviction that you have. When explaining veganism, explain to them what eating meat does to animals, how it affects our planet’s resources, and how it damages the ecosystem. Explain the relationship between humans, animals, and nature. We’re often taught that, as humans, we’re entitled to exploiting nature. Tell them why that’s wrong. The more information you give them, the more they’ll see your point. At all costs, refrain from forcing veganism down their throat.
Get Creative With Recipes
Veganism is not just about ideologies, beliefs, and limited menus. If your kids grew on an omnivorous diet, they’re going to have some trouble shifting to a vegan diet, especially when it comes to abandoning their favorite foods. That’s when you should step in with a bunch of delicious vegan recipes for you and your kids to cook together. Even better, let them create the recipes, and give them the resources. As explained on https://vegomm.com/, you or your kids can find out whether or not your products are vegan at the click of a button. Using this information, let them create their own recipes for bread, sandwiches, meals, and desserts. You can even start new family traditions centered around food. That way, instead of having a diet that limits them, they’ll have a diet that connects them. Not to mention, vegan food is delicious.
Create A Safe Space
Remember that as popular as it is now, being vegan is still uncommon, and so your children will stand out regardless of where they are. Because it’s important to belong as a child and to be accepted by your society, your children will face their challenges. Keep in mind, they’re not as confident in their identity as you are, and so, veganism to them might feel like a life sentence of exclusion. When they feel this way, and when their peers’ comments get to them, they’ll need a safe space to come to where they can be themselves. By listening to their feelings and by offering them a space that’s free of judgment and full of empathy and compassion, you’ll be teaching them that it’s okay to be different. You’ll be telling them that it’s okay to do what they believe in even if it means being left out of some things. More importantly, you’ll be showing them that their thoughts and feelings matter.
Be A Role Model
As parents, we have to be role models for our children. At the beginning of their life, we are their main source of information and so, they follow us around. They observe, learn, and memorize. By being a role model when it comes to veganism, you won’t just be further instilling the lifestyle in their minds. You’ll be inspiring them to care about their planet and their bodies. In the way you care to find out where your food comes from and how it contributes to a balanced diet, you’ll be guiding them towards a healthier life that they can maintain on their own. This is important, especially if you made the switch to a vegan diet with your kids. If this is a family decision, then being a role model is even more important.
It’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, your kids are their own people. You can give them as much information and resources as you can, but the decision has to be theirs. As hard as it might be to accept that, especially if their decisions don’t end up aligning with your beliefs, it’s your duty to show them that they are always loved and accepted. It’s all part of providing a safe space for them to exist freely.