As the late Whitney Houston once sang, children are the future so it’s imperative that we teach them to carry on our cruelty-free ways of living. Okay, Whitney Houston only sang the first part but we believe both equally.
That’s why we were so very excited when Ruby Roth, author of V is for Vegan and Vegan is Love, accepted our request that she share a couple of her tips for teaching the younger generations about veganism.
4 Tips for Sharing the Vegan Message with Kids from Ruby Roth
Sharing your motives for veganism with kids can be intimidating, whether it’s with your own already-veg children or omnivorous nieces, nephews, or students. Here are 4 tips to help you replace your ambivalence with confidence and share your healthy, compassionate habits:
1. Tell the Truth
Seems obvious, but most of us beat around the bush when it comes to answering kids’ questions. Ditch the fear, kids are sturdier than you think! The quickest way out of any sticky question is to casually and coolly state what’s true to your heart. Kids can handle much more than they’re given credit for.
2. Don’t Leave ‘Em Hanging!
Always address kids’ concerns about the treatment of animals with the solutions that veganism offers—from eating more veggies to seeking out products with cruelty-free logos to visiting a sanctuary or shelter instead of the zoo. I always tell kids whose parents are omnivorous, “You don’t have to be vegan to make vegan choices.” Share what anyone and everyone can do today to help animals, focusing on each individual’s power to make change.
3. Movement and Role-Play
Have your kids physically demonstrate their understanding of animals. Ask, “How does a happy chicken move? What does she do with her wings?” Then, “What if she’s in a cage only slightly bigger than her body? How does she behave now? How about a herd of wild elephants in the desert—what do they look like when they’re running free? What are they doing with their trunks and legs? Ok, now you’re an elephant in the zoo all alone. What does that look like?”
Acknowledge their insightful understanding. By invoking your kids’ own capacity for empathy, they will formulate their own opinions and considerate values and begin to answer their own questions about veganism and the treatment of animals.
4. Push Buttons
Kids like feeling trusted with a task. Ask them into the kitchen because “you need their little hands” for a job. Make something together, a smoothie for example, and let them do some (supervised) things they’re normally not trusted with—pushing buttons on the blender, cutting up a banana with a butter knife, stripping a piece of kale. Mention the benefits of the ingredients as you go, and watch… It’s hard to resist tasting something you’ve made yourself!
About Ruby Roth, Our Blogger Friend
Featured on Today, CNN, NBC, Fox, and other major media outlets, Ruby Roth is the world’s leading author and illustrator of books for vegetarian and vegan kids. Join her newsletter and check out her book trailers, art, and kids’ tees at www.WeDontEatAnimals.com.