As a parent, you want to lead by example and teach your children the importance of saving the Earth by becoming an eco-friendly family. Small changes do make a difference, and there are ways you can care for your planet by making a few alterations to your lifestyle at home.
To help your green parenting skills, here are some simple yet effective ways you can make a positive impact on the world.
Educate your children
Your children are the future, so a little education will help them become future eco-warriors when they take up your mantle.
When you implement changes at home, from recycling to repurposing plastic bottles, explain to your children the ecological benefits. Knowing the reason behind what you do at home will make them better aware of their habits.
Storybooks, such as the ones found on www.childrenoftheearth.org highlight the importance of caring for the environment, so from a very young age, your children can become aware of the world around them. Watch YouTube videos on the subject as well, and talk about them with your children afterward.
Visit conservation centers together, such as zoos or aquariums, giving your children a first-hand experience in how others are caring for the world by protecting at-risk species. Implement strategies at home, such as setting up bird feeders in the garden, allowing your kids the opportunity to play their part in caring for the natural habitat.
Don’t waste energy
Don’t consume unnecessary energy by leaving your electronic devices plugged in or left on standby when they are not in use. Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, but you will be saving yourself money too. When your phones and tablets are fully charged, unplug them. Don’t leave your tv on in the background when nobody is watching it. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. The more you can do as a family to preserve carbon emissions the better.
Take a look at some of your other appliances, such as the washing machine and refrigerator. If they don’t have the Energy Star seal of approval, consider replacing them. Again, you will save money on your utility bills when you buy something that is energy efficient, and help the planet when you get rid of your energy-guzzling appliances.
Having kids will increase your washing load, from school uniforms to play clothes that never stay clean for long. However, when possible wait until you have a full load of laundry, rather than throwing in a couple of garments at a time. Regular washes will waste electricity and add to your energy bill, so make sensible choices. The same applies to your dishwasher. Using it only once a day will make considerable savings on your wallet and the Earth’s valuable resources.
Having kids around the house means you will need to clean your home often, from the drink stains in the carpet to the muddy footprints leaving a trail across the kitchen. However, as a parent, you need to think carefully before buying a cleaning product and take the time to read the labels on items in the store, as some ingredients are hazardous to your family and the planet.
A lot of cleaning products are toxic to both the skin and the environment. Ingredients such as sodium hypochlorite found in bleach will irritate the skin and affect breathing, as well as cause pollution in the natural world. You can find biodegradable products at www.cleanhappens.com. These natural cleaning products are kinder to the environment and are safe to use around your children and pets. Sensible parents will always keep their children away from harmful products, but buying something safer will reduce the stress of your child touching something they shouldn’t, as well as reducing pollution.
Think about the school run
A lot of pollution is caused by the traffic on our roads, from cars to public transport. It makes sense, therefore, to follow the advice on www.epa.gov and cut down on using our vehicles when traveling short distances. Instead of hopping into the car for the daily school run, consider walking instead. Not only will this cut down on harmful emissions into the atmosphere, but the exercise and fresh air will do everybody in the family a lot of good.
Of course, the school may be several miles away, so you don’t want to tire your kids out before they start their lessons. Consider car sharing with other parents as another option, being sure to take your turn on the driving rota if you can drive. One less car on the road will make a lot of difference, and it will also give hard-working parents a break from one of their regular responsibilities.
Cut down on waste
Examples of waste can be found on another of our pages at www.ways2gogreenblog.com. We need to cut down when we can to protect the environment. For example, baby wipes are not biodegradable, so you should never flush them down the loo, and items such as batteries contain dangerous amounts of lead and mercury so should never be discarded with regular waste. Make sure you recycle what you can to ensure safe removal, and reuse other items instead of throwing them away.
Consider your children’s clothing. You know how quickly your kids outgrow their garments, so sell used outfits, or give them to a charity shop or parents you know. The same applies to toys and games, especially those that contain environmentally unsafe material as highlighted on www.theatlantic.com. Other people can make use of your old stuff, so be responsible and charitable.
Have a voice
Finally, be the voice of reason, not only to your family but to the outside world as well. From writing a blog to speaking to other moms, share your eco-friendly wisdom to as many people as you possibly can. Not only will they thank you for your advice, but so will the generations to come who will further benefit from your education.