We all want the best for our children, and look for ways to parent more ‘naturally’. But often the idea of green parenting seems daunting, time consuming and expensive- so we put off that move to ‘green’ for another day. But heres 10 easy steps to becoming a greener parent, and to reduce your families impact on the environment- without the hassle.
- Eat as a family- Cooking a family meal uses less resources and produces less waste than snacking on junk food and frozen meals. Eat with your children, and feed babies variations of the family meal, skip the jarred foods. Buying locally produced and organic foods where possible to reduce food miles and to leave out those pesky pesticides. For more resources on local food, check out "How To Eat Local."
- Go Cloth- This is a no-brainer, despite the flawed findings of the Environment Agencies study which claimed no real difference in environmental impact between reusable and disposable nappies. The sample used was painfully unrepresentative and the study is being re-done in the near future. With the exception of the Elimination Communication method, reusable nappies are clearly the greener choice for numerous reasons. Opt for washable wipes too for bonus points!
- Share Clothes- Avoid spending a small fortune on baby clothes in preparation for a new arrival- you wont use half of them anyway! Buy organic cotton clothing where possible and save clothes for future children, saving both resources and your money! Swap and share clothes amongst friends with children, and donate any unwanted items to charity stops.
- Breastfeed- Thats why we have boobs afterall, so lets use them! Breastmilk is healthier, readily available, pre-warmed, sanitary and free! And uses no external resources to produce.
- Clean Green- Babies and children create more housework. Simple as. But commercial cleaning products not only pollute the air, and water systems, they are a hazard with small children around, expensive and unnecessary. Swtich out your cupboards and replace with white vinegar, lemon juice, baking powder, eco-friendly washing up liquid and eco-friendly washing powder. It really is all you will need!
- Bathe Organic- Use natural and organic baby products, or none at all! A babies skin is 5 times thinner than that of an adults, so absorbs an awful lot! Think carefully about what you apply. Water and Olive Oil are actually all that is needed, and will protect the skin from the precious oil and moisture stripping effects of commercial cleansers. If you must buy products, be sure to avoid any that contain parabens and phthalates.
- Share Toys- As with clothes, share toys amongst friends and buy wooden where possible. Plastic toys are petroleum based and the flexible kind contain phthalates- not good! Wood is a renewable resource, and kids always prefer the simpler toys! Ever noticed its always the box, rather than the thing inside that induces the greater fascination!? Make you own entertainment with your child by reusing things to craft and create - such as soft toys from unwanted clothing items, and jigsaws from an old piece of cardboard and a magazine- hours of fun!
- Wear your Baby- Carrying your baby in a soft sling or carrier is the greenest mode of transportation.Great for using public transport, without having to haul prams and pushchairs on and off buses! Put long journeys on hold, your baby wont appreciate being carted here, there and everywhere, and a carried baby cries less- simple!
- Painting- Paint nurseries and bedrooms with eco-friendly paint, such as zero or low-VOC paint.
- Don't Over-Buy- Babies don’t need anywhere near as much stuff as advertising would have you believe! A sling can replace pushchairs, swings and bouncers; co-sleeping will elimate the need for a cot; a handful of body suits is probably all the clothing you will actually use in the early days; breastfeeding elimates the need for bottles and sterilisers- buy things if and when you need them and save resources and save yourself a lot of money!