My kids practically grew up green, so it was quite easy to adjust to the lifestyle.
Before my first child was born, my husband and I decided to cloth diaper...which was a gateway to living a more natural lifestyle. While researching to find the most affordable cloth diapering options, I came across many articles about the dangers of toxins in disposables. I decided right then and there that I was going to do my best to raise my child in a toxin-free home. I can't say that we live a 100% green & self-sustaining lifestyle, but we make every effort to get there. Slowly, but surely, I discovered un-paper towels, cloth shopping bags, re-usable snack bags, ma ma cloth, menstrual cups, and started making all of my household cleaning products. Beauty products are next on my list!
Here are my tips for raising "green" kids :
Explain What is Good For Them & Be The Example
Even at the earliest age, you can expose your child to the healthiest foods. Many of my friends are amazed when I tell them that my kids prefer raw broccoli over hot dogs. I do not mean to say this to brag, but honestly, my children have never been exposed to a hot dog. Their first foods were homemade and most of the time they had green vegetables and a variety of fruits. At feeding time, as crazy as it sounds, I told them how yummy their peas were and made a "show" of it.
We also try to have our kids eat what we eat amnd make sure to eat at the same time. "Buffet-style" seems to work best at our house, but making sure that each dish deserves a bite our two. My kids are also more likely to try something new if they see me or their dad try it. If we don't do it, they won't do it, and this idea goes beyond eating. Children are much smarter than some of us think, even at two, my youngest can grasp the concept that whatever can be re-used can be recycled.
Out-of-Sight, Out Of Mind
When I grocery shop, I remember my mom's advice - shop on the outside aisles of the store. It is true for most of the stores that I shop at, the produce section is usually on one end of the store, the meat section in the back, and dairy on the sides. Most of the packaged goods are in the innermost aisles, a place where my children rarely venture too. If they don't see Tony the Tiger or some overly processed package with their favorite superheroes, I do not feel inclined to buy it.
My kids also haven't seen many commercials advertising those products either since we only watch streaming videos via our Roku player or DVDs, and any broadcasted t.v. is limited. This may not be necessary but it sure helps.
My husband and I involve our children in everything that we do, whether it be gardening, baking, or cleaning.
Yes, at times I feel bad for saying "no" the grape scented Batman bath soap, but my boys love it even more that they get to make their own bath washes with essential oils that they picked out themselves. My four year old had taken great interest in helping prepare family meals, and loves meauring the ingredients. To him, making dinner or household products is a science experiment/math lesson/craft/etc. all rolled into one!
The choice to be "green" has truly been a rewarding experience and we have truly grown as a family because of it. We have learned to help each other and care more deeply for the world that we live in.
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What do you and your family do in efforts to be "green"?