1. GET OUTSIDE! Kids are suffering from ‘nature deficit disorder’, spending more time in front of the TV than they do outdoors. Whether hiking or camping as a family, or simply running around the backyard, regular outdoor activity can have huge positive (eco)health benefits!
2. CARPOOL. Kids are going to so many different venues and events! Set up a lift club with local families whenever possible to save fuel & stress. By coordinating common school and extramural activities with your close neighbours you will also be able to build and maintain a greater sense of community.
3. CUT DOWN ON CONSUMPTION. Instead of always buying the latest and greatest gadgets, get involved in recycling and reusing efforts by swapping toys (foster a sharing attitude), buying used toys, or by making alternative and innovative toys from things that can be found lying around the house. Teach your child to use his/her imagination and creative ability as they discover their talents during everyday tasks.
4. GET ACTIVE. Both physically & socially! Regular exercise strengthens natural immune and growth processes, and campaigning for healthier school meals, no fizzy drinks and the use of organic fertilizers on school playing fields all add up to make a big difference to your child’s (eco)vitality. You will also empower our youngsters to strive for these ideals as they gain their independence.
5. PLANT A GARDEN. Even a few tomato plants grown outside in pots can teach kids about the process of growing, the importance of soil, water and sunshine and the reward of caring for plants that then produce flowers and food. Also consider how families benefit from gardening together and the power of school gardens.
6. USE NON-TOXIC CLEANERS & HEALTH PRODUCTS. Encourage your child to read labels and make choices that are most beneficial for both health and the intended purpose of the product. Keep away from ammonia, artificial fragrances and bleach (to name just a few), as these could trigger or aggravate adverse reactions such as eczema or asthma. (*For foot and body odours, you can safely use ePore at any age!)
7. TURN WASTE INTO ART. Turn socks into puppets, empty water bottles into watering cans or flower pots, paper towel rolls into shakers or telescopes. Re-use ‘waste’ materials to help your child understand that materials can have multiple uses.
8. CUT DOWN ON PACKAGING. Go back to the ‘good old’ lunch box. Refill a reusable container with items from home instead of buying and using miniature versions of convenience food products. This simple practice will mean healthier food/snack choices almost by default and will also save on massive amounts of plastic and cardboard packaging waste!
9. COOK & SERVE LOCALLY GROWN FOOD AT HOME. Get your kids involved in the harvesting and cooking process, choosing locally produced products and produce from your own family garden! Many kids these days do not even know where their food comes from. Without an inherent understanding of the production/growing process, how can we expect them to make healthy, eco-friendly choices?
10. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. It is a tremendous privilege to be a parent. Your children learn from your every move and they look to you for guidance and inspiration for many of their formative years. Do and BE as you would wish for your child to do and be in their future! As a parent, the future is in your hands as much as it is in theirs!
An article inspired by Simply Green Vol.3 No.5
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Water conservation and renewable energy such as solar energy are two issues that affect the global community; make a difference and start conserving water and switch to renewable energy today. Another way of reducing your carbon footprint is to switch to green insurance, now available in South Africa.