How to raise a ‘green’ child

by Maricris of ZensibleMama

When my husband and I decided to start our own little family, we took it upon ourselves to start living green to ensure that our child will grow in a healthy environment and grow up learning the values of being green. I must reiterate though, that living a green life takes dedication and discipline. It a challenge inundated with several factors that can easily derail your best intentions, but one worth all effort and perseverance. After all we only have one planet, and we need to preserve it for our children and future generations. Thus, raising our children in the green ways, to me, is essential. The earlier you start this lifestyle, the better off they’ll be.

Here are simple, easy ways to raise a green child:

  1. Live by Example – children are easily influenced by our actions and habits. Practicing a green lifestyle and instilling green values in a regular routine harnesses a greater appreciation of living green.
  2. Teach them ways to conserve – Getting them into a habit, like turning off lights when not in use or turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth, not only reinforces the essentials of conserving but also saves you money on your utility bills.
  3. Instill the art of recycling Americans generate 4.4 pounds of waste each day according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and that number is rising. Teaching our children how and what to recycle may not greatly impact change in the amount of waste we generate but it will teach them the importance of why recycling is needed.
  4. Show them the trick to reuse – Another way to reduce waste is to reuse materials that can be transformed for other uses. For example, my favorite: You know those to-go cups that we get from restaurants? We reuse them as drinking cups at home (great when you have small children) or use them during picnics as disposable cups!
  5. Train them to be ingredient warriors – We are very particular with the products we buy and we make sure to read the ingredients before we buy them. Making your children aware of which ingredients or chemicals to avoid and how to find out if they are contained in a product they want to use, teaches them importance of being conscious of the products they use or consume so they can stay healthy.
  6. Take the fresh and natural approach – With the onslaught of genetically modified and chemically altered products in the mainstream market, it is almost scary to eat certain foods. Impressing on our children that eating fresh, healthy and natural foods at a very early age is the best way to show them the variety of meal and snack choices they can have if they choose to eat this way.
  7. Go Organic – Buying organic can be a very expensive approach to living more green. The great news is, with a higher demand for organics, some manufacturer’s now are able to lower their prices to reach more consumers. You just have to know where to look. Whole Foods is an organic grocery store that carries other personal use items as well. Even your regular grocery stores now carries some organic products.
  8. Start a Family Garden – This is probably the best example to show our children the meaning of living green. A garden where they help put together, grow and harvest their fruits and veggies is not only fun and satisfying, but it creates a memory they’ll never forget.
  9. Kick the Chemicals out – Cleaning products are of the worst offenders when it comes to harsh chemicals and they can be very unsafe when you have children. Ensuring that you are using plant-based cleaners and reiterating their importance to your children will magnify the need to be green.
  10. Immerse them in Green documentaries – This is by far my favorite and probably one of those unconventional ways of instilling green-ness to your children, but it works. It becomes a learning tool. A way to educate them to complement the other approach you’ve already been implementing.

What is one way you are teaching your children to be green?

About Molly Saunders

I am a bear in the Digital Dept at Build-A-Bear Workshop. I work at World Bearquarters in St. Louis, Mo. View all posts by Molly Saunders

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