Some days it seems like we live in a world of disposables, doesn't it? Everything is designed to be the most convenient, easiest, cheapest... from diapers, to table wear... even our furniture isn't made to last like in years passed. So, in this world of disposables, how do we raise our children to live a more green life? Here are a few quick and easy tips to get you started.
In a world of processed, convenience foods, teaching your children where their food comes from is an important lesson to be learned. Planting a garden is a great way to teach them. Make it fun by allowing them to choose a few of their favorites to plant or by picking out their own kid-friendly gardening tools. Don't have the space? Try a small windowsill herb garden or hanging tomato plants. It doesn't have to be huge. In fact, this year we only successfully grew tomatoes — but my son still loved going out and picking the food that he helped grow!
Recycling — yes, that's simple enough... but for kids make it more fun! Keep a box of items like cereal boxes, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, etc that can be used for fun projects later. Not only does it serve as a great lesson in recycling, it's also a fun way to inspire creativity! A few of my son's recycled creations include Lego portals and telescopes from toilet paper rolls!
Given the choice between an apple and a cookie, most kids are going to go for the cookie, right? Rather than packaged foods high in sugar, stock your home with healthy snack options like fresh fruits and veggies! Rather than chicken nuggets, offer them chicken breast! If you introduce your children to healthier options at a young age, they learn to appreciate those healthy, tasty treats and make better food choices.
Thrift shopping might not be the first thing you think of when talking about going green, but it makes sense. When you buy used, you have less packaging, meaning less waste. You are giving those items that may otherwise end up in a landfill a second life. Personally, I also find this a great way to teach your children the value of their money and to not put their value in material things. We may not be able to buy everything used, but we try to do what we can.
Perhaps the single most influential thing we can do to teach our children to lead more green lifestyles is to lead by example. I know I can personally TELL my son something 10 times and it goes in one ear and right out the other. Lecturing about living green? It's likely to be the same. Instead, by making efforts to live more green myself, my hope is that both of my children will pick up on these things and carry them on in their own lives.
Randi is a Christian wife, mother of two and blogger at A Modern Day Fairy Tale, where she writes about her life — raising a child with autism, transitioning out of the military family life and much more. She has a passion for sharing natural parenting options like babywearing, cloth diapering and extended breastfeeding with fellow moms!