How to talk and teach kids about veganism?
Talking about veganism with school-aged children help them to make informed choices about the food they eat and the products they use. It can empower them to think critically about the impact of their choices on the world around them and to stand up for their beliefs. It’s important to start this conversation early in order to provide children with the knowledge and tools they need to make conscious and ethical choices throughout their lives. With the right approach, children can learn about veganism in a way that is engaging and fun, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the impact of their choices on the world.
How to explain to children: What is veganism?
It is best to start a conversation about veganism with school-aged children by explaining the term veganism. You could say it like this: Veganism is a way of living where we don’t use or eat any animal products. That means no meat, dairy, eggs, or anything else that comes from animals. We also don’t use things like leather, wool, or silk that come from animals. It’s a way to show kindness to animals and take care of the environment and also our health. It’s like choosing different foods to eat, it’s a choice of lifestyle.
Emphasize the ethical reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle
School-age children generally do not understand the word ethical or ethics, so it is good to find another way to explain this term to them. It is possible to explain the ethics of veganism to them as follows: Being vegan means that you care about animals and you don’t want to hurt them. Some people choose to be vegan because they don’t want to be a part of making animals suffer for food, clothes, or other things. It’s like choosing to be friends with animals instead of using them. They might see animals in farms, being raised and treated in ways that they don’t think is fair or just, so they choose to not support that by not consuming those products, or using any other products that come from animals. It’s a way to show empathy and compassion towards animals.
Discuss the environmental impact of animal agriculture
It is often not enough to tell children that animal agriculture has an impact on the environment because it will sound too abstract to them, so it is good to explain in simple terms how eating meat affects nature. You could explain this to school children in this way: Being vegan means not eating or using things that come from animals. Some people choose to be vegan because it helps take care of the earth. The way we make food using animals, like cows and chickens, takes up a lot of land and uses a lot of water. It also causes pollution in the air and water. Choosing not to use animal products can help make the earth a cleaner and healthier place. Eating more plants instead of animals can help save space, water and reduce pollution.
Talk about the health benefits of a plant-based diet
It is good to explain to children in a simple way that vegan food is healthy and varied and that they will not miss anything. You can tell them these facts in this way: Being vegan means eating foods that come from plants, like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Some people choose to be vegan because it can be healthy for them. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be strong. A vegan diet can also help reduce the risk of certain illnesses. It’s important to make sure you’re eating a variety of healthy foods to get all the nutrients you need. For example, instead of eating a hamburger, you can eat a veggie burger made of beans and veggies. Instead of drinking milk, you can drink almond milk or soy milk. Instead of eating chicken nuggets, you can try breaded and fried cauliflower or broccoli. You can also try new fruits and vegetables like avocado, sweet potato, or kale. It’s good to try different things and find what you like.
Teach the child to stand up for his or her choice
The child will find himself surrounded by other children, either at school or at parties when everyone around him will be eating meat and may feel insecure. That is why it is important to teach him to stand up for his choice. For example, if your child is in a school canteen and their classmates are eating meat, you can teach your child to say something like “I choose to be vegan because I believe it’s important to show compassion for animals and it’s good for the environment. I understand that everyone has different choices, but this is what works for me.” This statement shows confidence in their own choices and respectful of others’ choices. Additionally, you can also remind your child that they can bring their own vegan meal from home, so they have something that they feel comfortable eating. A book that can help your children stand up for their vegan choice is “The Turtle Who Fights For Animal Rights“, which talks about animal rights and the benefits of a vegan diet in an argumentative, imaginative and child-friendly way.
Here you can read How to talk about veganism with preschool-aged kids.