Sunday, January 31, 2010

Living Green with Kids

We want the best for our kids. As parents, we want our kids to grow up healthy, have a good education, achieve their dreams, understand the value of family and friendships and ultimately live the best life possible. I do not mean our kids have to live a kush life in a bubble. They should know the value of hard work and responsibility, understand respect and what it means to be a part of this world. In that, it is our duty to teach them and give them the tools to make it a better world. A world they can pass down to their children, their children’s children and so on. It sounds cliche, but lets face it…that’s how it goes down.

So, how do we teach them the fundamentals of preserving this planet? It’s hard enough for adults to remember to be responsible and practice green initiatives, but when we do, our children follow in our footsteps.

Here are a few easy things (with practice) that you and your kids can do together:

1. Teach the importance of conserving water. When your children brush their teeth or wash their hands teach them to turn off the water in between brushing or scrubbing. Parents – practice too.

2. Grow a garden or plant a tree. Kids love to be outside and this is an easy way to get them interested in sustainability and how to care for the Earth. Planting a tree produces cleaner air. Did you know one tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

3. Use recyclable grocery bags. Keep them in the car so you’re never without. If you find your kids have to constantly remind you to take in the bags reward them with a special treat from the store.

4. Recycle. Make a game out of it for your kids. Have them help you sort. If one person recycled all their newspaper a year, they could save about 250,000,000 trees! Imagine if we all did even just a little bit. On average Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour of which most are thrown away along with 25,000,000,000 styrofoam coffee cups every year! Despicable.

5. Turn off the lights. You can make a game out of this too. Let the race begin. See how quick everyone can turn off all the lights before leaving the house. Save the energy…no need to keep that light on in the bathroom if you’re not in there.

6. Turn those recyclables into toys. Try putting some dry beans in a milk jug – you have a maraca. Turn a cardboard box into a space ship (see awesome rocket ship above). There are a million things you can do. It’s amazing how creative kids are and what they’ll come up with.

7. No more wrapping paper. Use a paper bag or recycled paper to wrap presents. Then have your kids paint or draw on the paper. They will love decorating it. It’ll certainly be the most unique wrap job there!

8. Have a toy swap. Kids get tired of their toys…and fast. Why buy more (especially when you can save a buck these days) when you can swap them out with other friends, family or neighbors.

9. Walk. Get outside, explore. Not only are you teaching your children to exercise more, enjoy the outdoors, but it’s just about the most environmentally friendly way to get from A to B.

10. Teach your children well. Kids do what you do, they follow our examples. There is no better way to teach your children how to protect this Earth than to show by example and live responsibly.

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