Being a parent isn’t just about what you do in the moment. It’s true that there are a lot of daily tasks that preoccupy us when we’re parenting. Your child’s immediate needs will likely take precedent over long-term goals. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just brush aside the issues that affect your child in the grand scheme of things.
This is why a lot of parents are making eco-friendly choices a bigger part of their lifestyles. Going green not only ensures that the environment is benefited in the moment, but it also will help enable your child to have a better future. Children are deeply affected by the environmental decisions we make now. If we don’t take the right steps to preserve the planet, they may not have one to show their own children.
It may seem difficult to prioritize environmental change when you’re so absorbed with your children’s day-to-day lives. Perhaps one of the simplest ways that a parent can take steps to be more eco-friendly is to make adjustments at home. You’ll be able to have a positive environmental impact and take advantage of the opportunity to model positive behavior for your children. Below, we’re looking into some of the ways you can make changes at home and within your family that will enable all of you to go green.
1. Choose Energy Efficient Appliances
Chances are likely that at some point, you and your family will need new appliances. This may be a part of a whole-home renovation or you could simply be replacing an outdated refrigerator or oven — perhaps one that is running on natural gas. In 2016, the United States was the largest producer of natural gas, extracting 750 billion cubic meters of the energy source. You might currently be using natural gas in the operation of your kitchen appliances. The fact is that you may have outdated appliances without even realizing it.
This means that you’re not only potentially having a negative environmental impact, but may also be spending more on energy bills than is strictly necessary. Energy-efficient appliances may require a bigger investment upfront, but over time, you’ll probably end up spending less while lessening your carbon footprint. As it is, 2018 alone saw 14% of homeowners choosing to make improvements to their kitchen. If you find yourself needing to do the same, you should consider incorporating those renovations into your plans to create a greener home.
2. Start Recycling
Recycling is obviously a key point of saving money as an adult and you can easily take the steps to teach your children how to recycle in turn. Kids can easily get into the habit of tossing items that could be recycled. Setting up an easy to use container for recyclable products will make the process easier for them. Train your children to get into a routine, making recycling one of their responsibilities just like cleaning their rooms. You should also make this even less of an issue for your children by investing in products that are reusable. Encourage your children to use reusable water bottles and have them carry their food in reusable lunch boxes rather than easy-to-toss bags. Again, this will also help you save money over time. As the development of synthetic polymers has grown since the 1940s, it’s become easier for a wide variety of plastic products to be manufactured, some of which are cheaper because they’re only meant to be used once. But cheaper products can have a long-term effect on the ecosystem, which makes them far more costly than they may initially seem.
3. Reconsider Your Cleaning Products
As a parent, you’ll have to do a lot of cleaning — both in terms of your house and in terms of your kids themselves. From the cleaning products you use down to the soaps you keep in your bathrooms, you can impact the environment in various different ways. For example, using a spray cleaner with harsh chemicals can lead to those chemicals seeping into the air around you. If you have young babies, you’ll also find that the wipes you use to keep them clean pile up over time. Disposable wipes fill up a landfill just like any other disposable product. Reusable wipes are not only more sustainable but are actually much more effective at cleaning up the mess in question.
Yes, reusable wipes, as well as reusable diapers, may seem odd at first. They’re essentially made of cloth and can be washed easily like any other clothing item. But they’ll keep your babies cleaner and reduce the trash you contribute to the environment. Even investing in hard soap versus liquid soap is a sustainable choice. Packaged in cardboard rather than plastic, these soaps also require less fuel to transport as they’re smaller than liquid soap dispensers.
4. Connect Your Children To The Environment
One of the best ways to teach your child to be more environmentally friendly is to simply teach them to experience and appreciate the environment. Take your children out on hikes and picnics and show them how to enjoy nature. Have open and honest conversations with them about what can happen if they don’t take the steps to protect the environment as they grow up. Rather than devoting your summer vacations to theme parks, consider devoting your vacations to something more nature-based. Incorporate green action into your child’s everyday life.
Yes, it may seem a bit tedious at first to change your entire lifestyle for a movement that won’t have immediate consequences. However, with each day we see more incremental negative environmental changes. Therefore, we have to take action now — and so do our families.