This guest post was written by Anne Harris, an HR specialist working for londongoverness.com. She recruits nannies, governesses, and other childcare professionals, ensuring top-notch services for parents worldwide. In her free time she likes reading about education and children’s welfare, as well as attending sports events.
With issues like climate change, toxic chemicals, and overuse of plastics, it is now more important than ever to educate our kids about the importance of environmental protection. Their future depends on it. Are you taking any steps to protect the environment and to give your children the tools to do the same in their daily lives? Here are a few ways for you to add some green habits to your family’s day.
Change Your Shopping Habits
The way we shop has a huge impact on our natural environment. One of the first ways you can model green behavior to your children is to avoid using plastic bags while at stores. These bags do not degrade easily and can last for hundreds of years. Some people claim that paper bags are more acceptable. While they are biodegradable, which is an advantage, they are still made of wood. If we know that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest – “the lungs of the planet” – is speeding up, we should really be more careful with paper products as well. Instead, try cotton bags because you can use them over and over again. Huffington Post also suggests using some other green alternatives to plastic bags.
Next, try to buy large packages instead of their smaller counterparts whenever possible. For instance, getting a family package of ice cream is a better option than buying several separate packages for each family member, especially if you’re going to eat it at home. Apply the same strategy on as many items as possible and your children will start to follow suit without even thinking about it.
You can also buy sustainable furniture, non-toxic cleaners, and eco-friendly clothing for your home. And when you are shopping for presents for your kids, consider giving them a meaningful save-the-planet gift.
Play With Green Toys
Today, the world is flooded with toys of unclear origins and questionable quality. Most of these toys are made of plastic and transported to us on large ocean cargo ships, features that leave a terrible ecological footprint. It is best to try to avoid buying such toys. Instead, look into safer wooden toys because they are recyclable and reusable. When wooden toys break, you can repair it on your own or take it to a toy manufacture that will breathe a new life into that old toy. For instance, Jim Barber, the founder of Luke’s Toy Factory, has realized the business and ecological potential of the wooden toy market. Read more about his environmental effort in the article published by The Guardian.
Apart from that, wooden toys can also spark children’s imagination. While mass-produced plastic toys are usually one-dimensional when it comes to mind activity, wooden toys are more likely to trigger a wide range of thought processes. This is even more obvious if they are made in an artistic way, like the toys made by Oliver Helfrich.
Serve Natural and Organic Food
Children’s eating habits are among the greatest concerns of modern parents. According to CDC, about 20 percent of US schoolchildren are obese because of lack of physical activity and poor eating habits. We need to take some measures to keep our kids away from junk food and sugar-filled drinks.
One way to form healthy habits early on is to serve eco-friendly homemade food to your kids. This way you are choosing safe, non-toxic foods and also helping to protect our environment from damaging things like pesticides. Also, get your kids involved in selecting and preparing food. Start a family garden, cook together, and even work on volunteer opportunities for kids in your community involving food. In line with that, take them to the local open-air green markets and let them choose what produce they want to eat. You may also want to encourage them to eat less or no meat at all for health, ethical, and/or environmental reasons.
When the family budget allows for it, put organic food on your menu. Try out new recipes for breakfast that your kids will love. As for school meals, pack your kids a lunch box that contains a well-balanced meal of wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and homemade juices. Here you can take a look at some great homemade juice recipes.
Spend Time In Nature
When you are trying to raise your kids to become ecologically aware adults, it is important to instill the love to nature in them when they are young. Organize fun outings like camping; hiking; and visiting beaches, lakes, farmland, mountains, national parks, and other serene places. Look for green city parks in your area and when you travel to other cities. Explore together and talk about the importance of preserving natural sites all over our world.
If you rely on childcare help, make sure that person incorporates spending time outdoors as part of your child’s routine with them. That way, your kids will learn about nature even when they are not with you. There are so many outdoor activities that the sitter can do with your children that they will enjoy, such as outdoor games, sports, swimming, or going for a bike ride.
What habits are you building in your home to teach your children to protect our environment?