Talking climate change … with the kids

These resources provide practical insights on discussing climate change with the kids … into whose hands the many challenges will fall.

If adults find it difficult to talk with each other about climate change, as many of us clearly do, how much harder is it to have good conversations about it with children, especially young ones?

Here are some good resources to help parents recognize how the topic might be affecting their children, figure out how and when to have those talks, and help leave them feeling not afraid but empowered.

Climate change is here. These 6 tips can help you talk to kids about it.” (Anya Kamenetz, NPR). This excellent article is straightforward, practical, and very helpful. (Also audio: 23 minutes).

14 actually good books to teach kids about climate change” (Emily Barone and Kyla Mandel, Time). This is a thoughtful collection, carefully put together, organized by theme, “to meet children at whatever stage they happen to be, both academically and emotionally.”

These two collections of good advice are organized by age groups: “How to talk to children about climate change” (Emma Pattee, Wired) and “Your guide to talking with kids of all ages about climate change” (Lora Shinn, NRDC).

Several of these articles cite Mary DeMocker’s book, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution.  Some of her shorter pieces are on her personal website.

How I talk to my daughter about climate change.” Michelle Nijhuis, The Atlantic. A veteran journalist often focusing on climate, Nijhuis is well positioned to help parents think about when their children may be ready to talk about the subject—and when it’s just too soon.

Resources on teaching the science of climate change are many and easy to find. Educators might find useful this piece from a BBC sustainability initiative: “How to teach children about climate change” (Claire Seeley, BBC).


The above article was originally published in the Yale Climate Connections on November 10, 2022. Yale Climate Connections is a nonpartisan, multimedia service providing daily broadcast radio programming and original web-based reporting, commentary, and analysis on the issue of climate change, one of the greatest challenges and stories confronting modern society.