by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
Living in a country where everything is so plentiful, it's tough to drill home the conservation message, when the waste is everywhere.
But kids learn and observe just when you least expect it. Sometimes teaching them to be eco-friendly comes through seemingly unrelated learnings.
In our house, my husband and I are both extremists about wasting food. It's genetic, we've each been that way since our own childhoods. In my case, the message has been further reinforced by visiting desperately poor countries and seeing what life is like with little or nothing.
Our kids know that when they eat a meal, they cannot waste a single grain, unless they feel physically sick. “Take as many helpings as you want, but don't waste,” goes the daily reminder. It works. It makes them appreciate the concepts of more and less, and specifically the idea that less is more.
The same goes for clothing, toys, etc. We recyle everything. It if doesn't get handed down within our house, it gets sent to cousins, friends, acquaintances in need. Almost nothing gets thrown out.
In recent years, we've discovered Once Upon a Child – a brilliant, eco-friendly way to buy clothings, toys and gear for kids. The entire store sells gently-used items for a fraction of the cost. How many times have I not entered one of my kids 3 closets and found clothes they have outgrown and barely worn. They tend to want and like to wear the same three items, but I digress!
Once Upon a Child will also accept your gently-used items (if it meets their standards), and pay you for them.
We've also added gardening to our new favorite outdoor activities. There are absolutely no green thumbs between my husband and I, and in the past it has not been an activity that we've ever really explored, but that's changed. Kids learn so much about conservation and protecting the earth from gardening and growing their own vegetables or flowers. That soil is a hotbed for teaching and learning!
Giving a child a “duty” like turning off needless lights, checking that windows are closed and deciding what to take out of the fridge before opening it – teaches them responsiblity and leadership, and most importantely keeps them aware of their carbon footprint.
On this Earth Day, keep in mind the little things that help reduce the family footprint. It's a whole new eco-friendly world to discover!
Check out our podcast about kids and gardening with Charlie Nardozzi: http://www.whereparentstalk.com/podcast/kids-gardening-kids-under-pressu…
For Earth Day activites in your neighbourhood: http://www.whereparentstalk.com/articles/whereparentstalk/green-parents-…