Top 7 Tips for Talking to Your Kids about VeganismYael Tamar
The vegan movement in America is clearly growing. With 6% of Americans currently identifying themselves as vegan, this marks a gigantic 600% jump compared to three years ago, asserts a new report. As the vegan lifestyle is becoming more popular, it’s no wonder that more parents want to talk with their children about veganism.
Whether you’re thinking about going vegan or have been raising your children vegan and are only now being asked about your lifestyle, it can be a complex topic to tackle. But it’s one that shouldn’t be avoided. Here are seven tips for discussing veganism with your kids in a gentle, honest and effective way.
Top 7 Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Veganism
- Be Honest – Children are innately curious. And their questions can be persistent. The next time they ask where chicken nuggets come from, how hamburgers are made, or why you don’t drink milk, answer them gently but honestly. They deserve to hear the truth in a way that won’t traumatize them. As kids love animals, they’ll eventually understand the essence of what being a vegan means.
- Don’t underestimate their emotional intelligence – Kids are more capable of understanding life’s circumstances than most people give them credit for. Try engaging them in frank discussions about veganism and ask for their opinions. They’ll most likely not only pay attention but give the matter serious thought before offering insight. What kid wouldn’t be pleased to have his or her opinion heard and respected? This will go a long way in helping them form their own values and make their own decisions in life – and not just about veganism.
- Provide a comprehensive perspective – There are many aspects to veganism. While there are also many challenges involved in becoming vegan, there are also many benefits. You may know this, but your kids most likely don’t – yet. The more knowledge you supply your children with, the more well-rounded view they’ll have of what being a vegan entails. This will enable them to make wiser decisions. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of vegan-friendly children’s books available that will simplify and explain vegan concepts according to age level. And in today’s online world, access to them is a snap.
- Instill Your Kids with Pride and Confidence – It takes a lot of pride and confidence to be a minority. And, yes, as most of America still enjoys a non-vegan diet and lifestyle, vegans are a large minority. Nowhere will this be more evident than at social events, when everyone but your child is pigging out on the delicious milk-filled birthday cake with buttercream frosting. Plus, they may also experience teasing from other kids (or, sadly, adults) who don’t understand the vegan lifestyle. Such instances could make your kids question your family’s beliefs. The answer? Instilling pride in your children about being vegan will help nurture their confidence about their life choices.
- Visit a Nearby Farm Sanctuary – It’s not enough to just provide your kids with knowledge about veganism. They also need to be able to do something practical with it. For instance, instead of just explaining about animal cruelty, plan a visit to a local farm sanctuary. Interacting with the rescued animals there and, especially, hearing their stories, will help them make a physical connection to the whys of going vegan. Such an experience will teach your kids compassion and maybe even make it easier for them to turn down that ice cream cone next time.
- Experiment in the Kitchen – Involve your kids in the kitchen. While cooking together, teach them about why you don’t eat animal products and introduce them to vegan alternatives. Cooking and meal preparation can be a fun way to bond with your kids. Experimenting with kid-friendly vegan food is a great family experience that will leave them with happy memories and cooking skills.
- Find Vegan Role Models – Today, with social media, it’s easier than ever to spot a celebrity vegan. Whether your kids look up to athletes, actors, musicians or other celebrities, you can most likely find one who also happens to be vegan or at least supportive of the cause. Find a famous vegan for your kids to admire as a role model.
The Bottom Line
Talking with your kids about veganism may be challenging but fulfilling. Using the tips above can help you engage them in discussions not just about veganism but about the values that shape your thinking and decision-making. Doing so will also give them the opportunity to think critically and to act compassionately.