How to teach children about climate change?

Global warming is one of the biggest threats that children have to face. How to educate them about it without causing too much anxiety? There is no simple answer to that question, but there are some rules you may follow to help kids deal with their feelings regarding climate change.

Adjust your message to the receiver

There are many different theories on how to talk to children about climate change. Some say they should start receiving simple information on the topic as toddlers to avoid experiencing shock later in life. Others advise against getting into climate change specifics too early. Instead, they recommend beginning with talking about beautiful things in the wildlife and spending time together outside, so children grow connected to nature. If they are going to protect the environment, they must first learn to love it. It also teaches them to focus on positives instead of concentrating on the problem all the time.

Nevertheless, there always comes a time when children have to face unpleasant truths. Adults tend to underestimate how mature kids are, but you can avoid this mistake and stay in touch with how much they already know by simply asking them. Education through dialog is the best method to check if your message matches the receiver. This way you can make sure what you are saying is neither too trivial nor too complicated. You can also hear about the other person’s feelings, which gives you possibility to react, when the awareness of modern problems becomes overwhelming.

Accept difficult feelings

Climate anxiety is a natural reaction to modern reality, so try not to panic when you see children experiencing unpleasant feelings. Instead of blaming yourself for their pain, listen to them and offer emotional support. You can propose ways for kids to take action, so they will not feel powerless, but do not act as if their effort will solve all the problems. Living sustainably and participating in protests can help dealing with fear, yet the belief that everything depends on your actions alone is dangerous for mental health. The responsibility is too big for one person, so underline the importance of cooperation. It is also good to remember that direct action is not the only valid way of processing emotions. Stories, art and other means of expression can be helpful too. They work as buffers against negative effects of climate change awareness.

Do not be afraid to search for support

Children can sometimes ask difficult questions. Thankfully, there are many reliable resources available online. Some of them, like NASA’s interactive Climate Kids website, are made specifically for young people so you can discover it together. Try working in cooperation with teachers, parents and other caregivers sharing the same goal: to raise people who can change the world. One of the ways to do this is to implement our Sustainability Manager program in the school so the whole institution can be more effective. If it sounds interesting, you can check out project’s website and Facebook page.


Maria Ojala, How do children cope with global climate change? Coping strategies, engagement, and well-being, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 32, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 225-233,

ISSN 0272-4944,

Rachel Kelly, Laura G. Elsler, Andrei Polejack, Sander van der Linden, Kajsa Tönnesson, Sarah E. Schoedinger, Francesca Santoro, Gretta T. Pecl, Michael Palmgren, Patrizio Mariani, Diz Glithero, Karen Evans, Christopher Cvitanovic, John Cook, James Bartram, Mary S. Wisz, Empowering young people with climate and ocean science: Five strategies for adults to consider, One Earth, Volume 5, Issue 8, 2022, Pages 861-874, ISSN 2590-3322,

Kelley Swain, Children’s picture books in an age of climate anxiety, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, Volume 4, ISSUE 9, P650-651, September 01,

Daisy Simmons, How to talk with kids about climate change, Yale Climate Connections, August 12, 2020, available:

UNICEF, Talking to your child about climate change, available:


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