You always take your reusable, cloth bags to the supermarket, you take public transportation whenever possible and you’ve turned down your thermostat this winter to save on energy. You’ve successfully moved into a greener lifestyle and now you want your kids to adopt the same eco-friendly habits. Here are a few simple ways to get your children thinking about the environment from a young age.
-Organize a toy swap with other eco-minded parents. Have your son or daughter choose a few toys or games they want to exchange with friends. Everyone gets something new to play with and no extra money has been spent nor has packaging been thrown away.
-Remind your kids to unplug their larger electronics – such as TVs, DVD players or video game consoles – when they’re not in use. By simply unplugging (and NOT using the standby function), you’ll save big on energy in the long run.
-If your kids are looking for coloring paper, give them a stack of waste paper that is printed on one side (we all have those stacks of printing misfits). Let the children use the clean side of the paper (rather than a fresh ream of printer paper) to create their refrigerator masterpieces.
In the Bathroom
-When teaching your kids proper oral health habits, remind them to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth. Letting the water run wastes up to five gallons a day!
-The rubber ducky might not have a puddle to float in, but converting your kids from bathers to shower-ers will conserve water (a bath uses twice as much water as a shower!) and energy costs needed to heat the water.
-While it’s imperative to turn lights off in every unoccupied room of the house, the bathroom light always seems to be the outlier. From an early age, remind your children to switch off the lights and it will soon become second nature.
-Dump the idea of packing your kids lunch in a brown bag and send them off with a reusable lunch bag or box. You can also package sandwiches and snacks in these reusable, eco-friendly sacks and skip all the trash associated with plastic baggies and tin foil.
-If they can do it safely, have your child bike or walk to school and reduce carbon emissions created by cars and busses.
-Send your kiddos to school with a dedicated bin and start a classroom recycling project. Have your child ask their friends to bring in one or two items to be recycled every week. If you initiate a recycling habit at an early age, children will likely continue the trend later in life.