Being a parent is about many things, one of which is forming our children into people who will live abundant lives that help others and the planet. Even if being a good steward of the Earth is low on your family’s list of priorities, encouraging children to live sustainably is something parents should incorporate when and where they can. These days, with the climate crisis at the forefront of everyone’s minds, there are upgrades to your family home and your family’s lifestyle that everyone will appreciate and simultaneously benefit the planet. Keep reading to learn about changes you and your kids can make at home that will benefit your quality of life and make a big impact worldwide.
While it used to be a running joke in sitcoms about turning off the lights when you leave the room or not touching a thermostat in the name of the electric bill, today, these are important habits in the name of sustainability. Making a familial commitment to turn off lights and other electronic devices when not in use is a great way to help the climate and save money simultaneously. Some families go as far as to unplug smaller devices when not in use. Make it a habit to use natural light in your home when possible, and while you want to keep the temperature in your home comfortable, keep the environment in mind before you turn your heat to 74 degrees or your AC to 68. Enjoy the change in seasons, opt for fans in the summer when possible, and bundle up before blasting the heat.
You may not realize it, but the products you and your family use to sleep in and on are harmful to the environment. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, so give yourself the peace of mind of knowing your children are sleeping on environmentally friendly and chemical-free sheets and mattresses. Investing in products like a cloud pillow, bamboo mattress, and natural textiles for sheets and comforters is a great way to serve the planet and your family’s health. Always check with your local recycling system on how to dispose of and recycle your old mattress – some localities have charities that will happily take them off your hands.
Grow Your Own
Ultimately, the end goal of sustainable living is about the planet’s health and the health of future generations. Take immediate control over your and your family’s health by opting to grow your food. Nothing tastes as delicious as fresh food from your garden, and you also have control over any chemicals sprayed on your produce. This is a sustainable option because you avoid shipping produce that produces emissions and the toxic chemicals sprayed for large farms. If you can’t grow your own due to space or other issues, support local farmers and buy what’s in season.
Do you have a budding fashionista? Your child may love getting new toys frequently. Maybe it’s you who enjoys putting a dent in your credit card. While no one is judging shopping, shopping second-hand is a better and more sustainable option. Not only do you give clothing, toys, and furniture a second chance at life, you’re avoiding them ending up in landfills or promoting fast fashion manufacturing by buying them. Bonus? You’ll save a significant amount of money buying second-hand instead of brand-new each time you or your family members need something.
Ditch Single-Use Items
Ditching single-use items can be one of the hardest habits to adopt as a parent because parenting is hard, and convenience feels essential. While small prepackaged snacks and drive-throughs are tempting to save time or money, in the long run, the damage they create isn’t worth the future they could leave your children. Try going with reusable cups every time, not using plastic bags stores offer but bringing your reusable bags and avoid items like juice boxes or other prepackaged snacks that must be thrown away as soon as they’re finished.
There are other steps you can take as a family, like reducing your carbon footprint, recycling when and whatever you can, choosing the “paperless” option for mail whenever possible, and conserving water. The ways mentioned above to live more sustainably as a family are merely a starting point, and the more you aim toward this lifestyle, the easier it becomes. Good luck; you’re doing the right thing!
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