Understanding what it takes to live a green and eco-friendly life is not something everyone is willing to do. If you’re a parent who has made a stand in helping make the world more sustainable for your children and the generations after, you must make this movement a family affair. And as the new year ushers in, there’s no better time to teach your children about eco-friendly resolutions.
A Sustainable Mom’s New Year’s Resolution
Get the kids involved as early as possible, as this is vital to their understanding of what it means to be environmentally conscious. To help you out, we have 10 tips on how to raise an eco-conscious kid that may help you get the ball rolling:
1. Use Eco-Bags When Shopping
Photo by Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash
Instead of using one-time-use plastics or paper bags, opt for eco-bags. Think of how many times you bring your child or children grocery shopping with you. If your child sees that you’re using bags that are reusable, they will better understand why it’s more eco-friendly to use them. Show your child that you can also use these bags for storing other things like their toys and books—that these bags don’t go to the trash bin right after one to two uses.
2. Bring Your Own Reusable Utensils Wherever You Go
Not only is it hygienic for your children, but bringing your own reusable utensils helps minimize waste that comes with using plastic utensils. In fast-food chains, the go-to utensils are always plastic, even the straws are made of plastic. All of these are used once and then immediately discarded. It’s a totally different scenario if you bring your own reusable utensils as the kids will see that there’s no need to be wasteful. These things just need to be washed and can be used again.
3. Give Up Bottled Water and Carry a Stainless Steel Water Bottle
In relation to the previous tip, it is also wise to bring a stainless steel water bottle with you instead of buying bottled water. The problem with plastic bottles is that they’re meant for one-time use only. Even if you want to re-use them again, they can release toxins that are harmful to the human body.
Plastic bottles always end up in landfills and worse, in the seas. So if you want to raise an environmentally conscious child, teach them the habit of bringing their own water bottle instead.
4. Give Up Bottled Shampoo and Soap
While there are companies who make the effort to create more sustainable bottles for shampoos and body wash, the majority still don’t. The problem with these plastic bottles is they’re hard to recycle due to the color-treated plastic as well as its content. Same with plastic water bottles, they just end up in landfills. This is why it’s a good idea to give shampoo bars a try. When it comes to soap, it will be ideal to ditch the body wash and just go for the good old’ bar soaps.
5. Buy Toys and Games with Minimal Plastic Parts
There are plastic toys everywhere, and it’s tempting to buy them for your child. Most children are attracted to flashy and colorful plastic toys, and this is why toy manufacturers continue making them. The problem is, plastic toys are not sustainable, so it’s best to buy toys with minimal plastic parts.
In terms of education, plastic toys also don’t offer much compared to wooden toys, since these provide various challenges to young children. A good example is wooden dominoes—it’s a great introduction to the world of math for early learning. It also helps encourage imaginative play as well as patience in young tots.
6. Opt for Reusable and Sustainable Art Materials
Let your kids enjoy making wonderful artworks without thinking twice if you’re harming the environment in one way or another. There are natural paint kits you can buy today that uses natural earth pigments, tree sap, and cornstarch. Simply add water, and your child can make water-based paint. He/she can use the paint on glass, rocks, fabric, and wood. If your child prefers to paint on paper, go for eco-friendly paper, too!
7. Carry Lunches in Reusable Stainless Steel Food Containers
Stainless steel is a highly recommended material because it’s highly sustainable and reusable. So when it comes to packing lunch for the kids or the entire family, opt for the stainless steel food containers instead. They’re also very safe to store food because stainless steel is free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, vinyl, and other chemicals that plastic releases.
8. Make Your Own Snacks
Commercially sold snacks are often placed inside plastic packages, which you will throw out after use. That’s not doing the environment any good. If you’re serious about going green, put extra effort into preparing snacks for the children and then put those in reusable snack bags, too. These bags are also great for sandwiches!
9. Minimize Buying New Clothes
While fabric is a recyclable material, it will still be best to minimize buying new clothes. This will show your child that there are other ways to acquire clothes like through making your own through reusing, altering, and modifying old clothes. If you have a knack for sewing clothes, you can use organic sewing threads, too. Another good idea is to buy from thrift stores.
10. Use Bamboo Toothbrush
We’ve all grown up using plastic toothbrushes. Yet, we didn’t pay attention to how many of these are also ending up in landfills. So today, say goodbye to plastic toothbrushes and go for the bamboo toothbrushes instead. Once kids understand why they’re using bamboo toothbrushes instead, it is likely that they’ll prefer using one until they grow old.
Start Them Young!
Eco-friendly parenting won’t be easy, but it’s well worth your effort and time. When you start an eco-friendly journey with children at a young age, the repetition will pay off in the long run. Don’t underestimate a child’s ability to understand what is going on in the world; make them understand why practicing environment-friendly habits are essential. Hopefully, the family can get a good, green start this 2020 with these ethical new year’s resolutions!