Imagine a world where Eco Friendly Living was normal because “that’s what my mom always did.”
That dream is why I write this blog. My hope for my two boys is that their journey towards an eco-friendly lifestyle will be a simple journey, because I do the hard work for them on the front end. No having to research safe products, because mom already found great ones that work. No need to figure out how to compost, because they’ve watched mom do that their whole lives. No YouTube tutorials on what can be recycled, because they’ve helped me recycle for as long as they can remember.
One of my proudest mom moments was a few months ago: my almost three year old had popped a balloon he’d received from school, so he proceeded to throw it in the trash, then looked at me and said, “Well, my balloon is going to the landfill – bummer!”
I laughed at first, because that’s something you just don’t expect to come out of the mouth of a toddler! But it’s moments like these that reveal just how much our kiddos absorb from simply watching us live our eco-friendly lives.
What a beautiful thing it is to have the privilege of influencing the next generation through such a powerful tool as motherhood. No matter what season of motherhood you find yourself in – maybe a brand new mama, an experienced mom with several littles running around, a single mom with way too much on your plate, or perhaps you desire to be a mom at some point in the future – here are a few tips for how to encourage your little ones to follow in your Eco Friendly footsteps:
- Talk about nature and go outdoors with your children often! Let them get dirty and feel the grass between their bare toes. Let them pick up worms and watch the ladybugs fly off their tiny fingers. Something about being in nature gives humans the ability to look at the Earth with a sense of compassion, and as their love for nature grows, so will their desire to care for it. There’s no coincidence about the fact that the more disconnected a culture gets from regularly experiencing nature, the less the Earth is valued in that culture.
- Bring nature indoors for craft time! Collect rocks to paint, flowers to press, leaves to sketch, or twigs to build with. Not only is this completely zero waste, it’s yet another way for your kids to learn to appreciate nature!
- Give your children age-appropriate eco-friendly chores.
- Recycling: Teach them how to collapse cardboard boxes and put them into the cardboard recycling bin. Explain to them what items can and cannot be recycled, and how to sort the recycling. Let them come with you and throw the plastic bottles into the correct bin at the recycling center. Who knows, your kids might even help keep you accountable if they catch you throwing a plastic bottle in the trash! 😉
- Composting: Show your kids where you collect your compost during the day. Let them put the apple cores in and dump in their food scraps after dinner. If you have a compost bin at home, let them walk everything out to the compost bin every evening, and let them witness the miracle of their food turning back into dirt!
- Donating: Teach your kids about companies that recycle old clothes or shoes or electronics. Explain what you’re doing when you collect items to send, and let them tape the box closed to ship it off! Here’s a helpful list of incredible companies that will give new life to items you’re ready to part with.
- Practice an eco-friendly lifestyle yourself! Trust me, they’ll notice. I could type a mile-long list of all things I do just because that’s how my mom always did them. I cook recipes that my mom always cooked, using ingredients that she always used. When I’m at the grocery store, I select brands that my mom always bought.
Day after day, as you continue to make choices that are better for the planet and your family’s health, your kids are going to follow suit:
If mom always brought her own bags to the grocery store, that becomes their new normal.
If mom always used plain kitchen towels instead of paper towels to clean up spills, that becomes their new normal.
If mom always tossed wool dryer balls in with the laundry instead of dryer sheets, that becomes their new normal.
Just keep up that Eco Friendly Momming! You’ve got this, friend! If you’ve read this far, please leave a comment below or share this post on Pinterest. I’d love to hear from you.