Aspiring toward living a greener lifestyle is an admirable goal, but it can be difficult when you have small kids and their needs to consider. However, with a change in perspective, it can become more like a fun game than an arduous task. For instance, rather than thinking about how difficult it is to live sustainably when you have little kids at home, consider how you’re instilling valuable life lessons in them on how to respect the environment. These are lessons that, when learned at a young age, they’ll likely carry with them well into adulthood.
Here are a few ways that you can go about creating a greener lifestyle for you and your family:
Use reusable containers for lunches
Sending your kiddos to school is a whole lot easier when you put all their snacks and lunches in reusable containers and lunchboxes. You can buy them cute lunchboxes that they’ll be proud and excited to show off to their friends in the cafeteria. Then inside, you’ll have small containers to house their sandwiches, carrot sticks, chips, fruit slices, and more. It’s a better option than storing it in a paper bag, plastic baggies, or aluminum foil that you’ll have to throw away every day. You end up saving five days’ worth of debris by using reusable containers.
Ditch paper towels in the home in favor of cloth napkins
In your home, there are many greener options than wasting paper with paper towels or different types of wet wipes. Ultimately, using paper products to clean will leave you with tons of paper waste, much of which is dirty that you can’t properly recycle. By using a cloth napkin or microfiber cloths, you can instead reuse the same cloth again and again—sometimes with just water and no chemical products!—to clean your household. It’s a more sustainable option to avoid waste in the household and will teach your kids how to do their chores in a green way.
Use cloth diapers
If you have a baby, you can save on waste (literally, actually) by using cloth diapers rather than a product that you’d have to throw out after one use. It’s a little dirtier, but when you see the amount you’re saving, you realize how worthwhile it is. You can wash and dry the cloth diapers then reuse them over and over. There’s also no risk of babies having sensitivities to any of the chemicals in the diapers.
Bike and walk together as a family when you can
By instilling healthy exercise habits when your children are young, they’ll learn to carry these habits on with them well into adulthood. You can introduce them to walking and biking as more than just an occasional activity but something that they can do every day.
For instance, biking can be used as an alternate mode of transportation. If you bike with your kids in small carriers when they’re babies and toddlers then bike alongside them as they grow older, it’ll seem second nature to them. You can bring them to school, the grocery store, running errands, etc. It’s time to ditch the cars and buy your kids some bikes that will last a few years so they’ll be able to commute and travel all over!
Going further, you can go on vacations, and rather than renting a car, you can instead rent bikes for your family. Imagine touring around a new space while riding a bicycle. You can see a new area in a way that most other people won’t get to, which makes it a valuable and unique occasion for everyone.
Additionally, you can use walking as an alternate mode of transportation, although it takes a lot longer than biking to get place to place. More so, walking is a way you and your family can unwind and explore your local area and neighborhood after dinner. Walking and biking can become new fun activities with your kids, becoming memories that they’ll cherish when they look back on them.
Show Your Support for Sustainability in Your Day-to-Day Activities
One great way to show your children about these green values to you is by finding organizations that support what you believe in and rallying for them. You can go door-to-door with your family members to your neighbors and see if they’re interested in learning about these values as well. It’s a great way where your children can learn more about these practices and the benefits of sustainability and then share that with people who live nearby. By sharing it in their own voices, they’ll also be able to reiterate the lessons that they’re learning from whatever pamphlets or other materials they have.
Beyond that, think about the ways your family contributes to greenhouse gases outside the home. When you go to restaurants, are you choosing restaurants that compost their food waste? What about grocery stores – if you’re able, find a grocery store that recycles their used cooking oil into biofuel. Kids will love learning about how used cooking oil that once helped make yummy meals is now being used to power the cars they see all around them.
Imparting green values in your children when they’re young is a great practice. It’ll likely last with them for years to come and could even benefit them when they share what they’ve learned with friends and neighbors.
About the Author: Sam Casteris is an avid traveler and aspiring travel writer. She writes creative pieces about travel, informational articles for other travelers, and guides to make travel as stress-free as possible. Her home base is in Phoenix, AZ.