Be An Earth Day Family Every Day

Raising children is hard enough without worrying about the environmental consequences of your parenting choices. Don’t sweat it. You already care about your child’s well-being and earth-friendly choices make it easier. Parenting is a 365-days-a-year job. Why not make every day Earth Day while you are at it? When it comes to being an Earth Day family, here are eight fundamentals:

1. Lead by example. You are the greatest role model your child will have. She will look up to you, learn from you, and embrace your habits. If you teach when you talk, you avoid many of the “why” questions that inevitably come when she sees you separating food scraps from glass from cardboard or turning the lights off when you leave a room.

2. Teach your kids about fundamental human needs. In addition to love, he needs to know that clean air, clean water and clean soil are essential to human life. He can live without video games, but he cannot live without these precious commodities.

3. Share “Earth-friendly” learning experiences. Start a composting project or visit the aquarium to learn about the importance of the marine world to our lives. What happens when we take too many fish out of the sea or dump too much garbage into it? How does it affect the family?

4. Seriously consider breastfeeding. In a perfect world, no food is better (or more Earth-friendly) for an infant than mother’s milk. It is the ultimate in nutritious, local food production. Don’t take my word for it — check out the American Medical Association position on breastfeeding at ama-assn.org.

5. Healthy food is usually green food. Your child will benefit from local fruits and vegetables at home. Take him to the local market or if possible, a farm to learn about fresh food. Encourage him to start a garden in the backyard or grow some herbs in a pot at home. He is less likely to develop food allergies or sensitivities if he is not eating processed, packaged or fast foods. For easily digestible information on food choices for kids, check out Care2.com blogger Michelle Schoffro Cook’s articles.

6. Green food makes you smarter. Diet is critical for learning. Parents can pitch a green school lunch partnership plan that is both healthy and financially responsible. If schools and school boards know that healthy cafeteria options don’t inflate the budget, it is hard to argue against them. For example, a school garden is a great education tool and a source of nutritious food for students.

7. Travel green. Don’t let your child develop an automobile addiction. Seek out destinations that you can reach together safely on foot or by bicycle. It is a great way to share time together and get fit. When the car cannot be avoided, try to combine errands or carpool with other families. Carpooling is a great, Earth-friendly way for parents to share the travel load.

8. Seek out green products for your kids. When you buy her toys, clothes and bath products, take some time to find eco-friendly, safe options. There are a number of websites that provide information on both, including toxinfreetoys.com and ecobabyproducts.com. Green products for babies and children are growing in popularity in traditional retail outlets as well.

Earth Day every day is simple for parents and kids if you stick to the basics. Just add love.

36 comments

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Krysti S.
Past Member 4 years ago

celebrate the earth every day

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Great article. Thanks.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Tiffany Derichsweiler
Tiffany D.5 years ago

I hugely agree with teaching as you talk. Its a great way for the kids to learn--they are always watching what you do. And a lot of kids are sadly lacking in (my opinion) basic knowlege--like thinking food comes from the back of a grocery store. Lol, one of my kindergarten students carefully explained to the class how we got our fried chicken we were eating for a party: "You take a pig, and cut it up into shapes, and then you get chicken!" Lol, when I explained they were eating chicken, you know, b'gok b'gok chicken, and said he was eating a leg, the girl next to him had a wing and the one across was eating breast and showed them where the pieces would be on our body, four of them promptly pushed their plates away and said they weren't hungry anymore.

Betty C.
Betty C.5 years ago

tHANKS.

Janice D.
Past Member 5 years ago

Very nice tittle..I agree with your eight fundamentals..And in addition to it children learns first at home.So, it is right that parents should be a good example.

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vivian l.

noted

Merna S.
Merna S.6 years ago

Children learn best through example so it's imperative that parents role model caring about the world. Great article about how to do just that!

Carole K.
Carole K.6 years ago

In raising our TWO children, I am proud to say that my husband & I enacted every one of the eight points (including breast feeding) that Curtis Cook presents here. Our children, now adults, are likewise passing this lifestyle on to our grandchildren. I'm glad to see that Mr. Cook put modeling teaching theory@ the top of the list. Children learn best by imitating and doing the behavior they see from parent role models than they will ever remember from what you might have said. Our children, now adults, now tell us that their most cherished childhood memories are recollections of some of the ecological activities that we did together as a family: gardening, bee keeping, recycling, tent camping, fishing, harvesting & preparing wild foods (asparagus, mushrooms, etc.) Now our daughter works for the Extention Service and sometimes she teaches us a thing or two!