A new year means a new greener you!
Though we’re already a month into the New Year, you have plenty of time and opportunity to make your family greener in your everyday lifestyle choices and routines. Small changes make a big difference, and along the way, you’re educating your child that the Earth and its resources are important. And It certainly helps that a green life is a healthy life.
Check out these tips to get your family keenly fired up to an environmentally 2017.
1. Walk or Bike Whenever Possible
The lines to pick up the kids at school not only eat up time, but sitting for minutes at a time with an idling engine isn’t good for our air quality. Get the family moving outdoors by opting to walk or ride bikes to school, sports practice, to dinner, to run errands, and more. Consider investing in a child carrier if your child is 4 or younger to make the walk easier on them.
2. Grow Your Greens
Children love to garden! They just need the opportunity to do it, and you’ll see how much they benefit. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, a simple beginning can consist of filling pots with fertile soil and planting a few heads of lettuce or fresh herbs.
The trickle-down effect? You’re showing your child where food comes from, and you may be planting a seed for a future farmer! Plus, when you grow your own herbs, you eliminate the packaging waste when you buy them at the grocery store.
Does your city offer recycling? If so, we hope you’re already participating. But if it doesn’t, start recycling today by purchasing 3 plastic bins and filling each with paper, glass, and plastic. Once a month, load the kids up and head for the nearest community recycling center. They’re amazing places!
Your kids will enjoy watching the huge machines move tons of recycled paper from one place to the next. It’s educational, and with those big machines involved, very exciting!
4. Visit the Farmer’s Market
Your local farmers market is a living classroom with so many available lessons. From the exchange of money in paying farmers for their wares to seeing and learning about the local produce grown within a roughly 100-mile radius, a farmers market is a green social hub waiting to be explored.
Many markets have a beekeeper who would be willing to share a story or two about the importance of bees and how the honey is made. Pig and beef farmers are also, in my experience, happy to share a tale or two about the farm. This environment brings your family into a world of other planet-conscious folks, while introducing your children to the people growing the food they eat.
5. Upcycle Some Fun
Ready for a weekend of fun that costs nothing? Just those huge boxes large items are shipped in, and watch your kids build amazing boxy forts! They can decorate them, cut windows in them covered with colored cellophane material, and put small pillows and blankets inside for a cozy reading nook.
Sure, the sheer size of these boxes will wear on parents at some point, but for the time being, revel in their creative upcycled project!
6. Lose the Waste
When ordering food for delivery, specify that you don’t want any plastic utensils, extra napkins, or condiments. These often end up in the landfill anyway! Use your own silverware and make the meal feel cozier with cloth napkins.
7. Hand Wash Your Dishes
When you hand wash dishes after dinner rather than loading up the dish washer, you save electricity and water. And as a chore for children, it provides instant gratification: once the dishes are washed, dried, and put away, the chore is done!
8. Create a Family Chalkboard
Lose the clutter of appointment reminders, grocery lists, and other paper memos by hanging a family-sized chalkboard or dry erase board in the kitchen, laundry room, or mud room. Share reminders for appointments, lists of foods and sundries, and upcoming events. It reduces the amount of paper waste from your home, and you can make it fun by encouraging your family to share jokes with each other!
9. Appoint a “Light Warrior”
Each week, choose one family member to walk through the house each night and turn of unused lights and electrical devices. This unnecessary electricity is just wasteful. Even the video games left on are sucking electricity from the power grid and costing you money. Make it fun for everyone by placing a cape around the Light Warrior’s shoulders before the nightly sweep!
10. Try Old-Fashioned Cleaning
Reduce the use of electricity use and encourage the family to clean in old-fashioned ways. Use a broom and a pan instead of a vacuum cleaner on hard floors. Rather than using a disposable napkin to sweep the floor or clean the dust off cabinets, use a reusable cloth. Eliminate the use of harsh cleaners by opting for water, baking soda, and vinegar where possible – when cleaning the windows, for example.
How is your family learning about green living in 2017? Share with us in the comments!