Going Green from the Get-Go
How Natural Product Selections Benefit Your Children - and the Planet
When it comes to raising an environmentally conscious child, eco-minded experts agree that the responsibility lies with parents. By setting a real-life example of how even one person - at any age - can play an active role in aiding the environment, you can help raise your children to be good stewards of the land.
One way to encourage children to follow in your eco-friendly footsteps - right from the start - is to purchase natural products such as organic cotton clothing and bedding, reusable diapers, recycled paper goods and organic foods. A commitment to the purchase of "green" products sends a strong message to your children about the limited availability of the earth's resources and the important role Mother Nature plays in our lives.
By choosing natural products, you show your children that you're concerned about where the product came from and where it's going - and want to be sure no harm is being done to the environment along the way.
Creating "Green" Habits
The habitual purchase of natural products demonstrates a clear message about the importance you place on aiding the environment - for the benefit of your children and your children's children. Of course, the importance of purchasing "green" goods isn't learned in one sitting. It takes time - especially with young children. It's up to parents to make each trip to the store, and every natural product purchase, a learning experience. Over time, your children will begin to understand - and even mimic - your eco-friendly behavior.
"Kids are creatures of habit," says Emily Main, associate editor of The Green Guide, a consumer resource for environmental education. "While younger kids don't understand the logic behind purchasing organic foods, they can learn about it later. It's still important to set a habit now by choosing to go to natural food stores."
Dan Chiras, the author of "Eco-Kids: Raising Children Who Care for the Earth," a guide for parents on instilling environmental values in their children, agrees that the use of natural products should start with your children even as babies - and continue as they grow older. In this case, the old adage, practice makes perfect, holds true. The routine purchase and use of "green" goods will only stand to ingrain the behavior into the minds of your children.
"While early product usage doesn't have an influence on kids, a parent's decision to act consistently does," says Chiras. "Kids pick up on inconsistency. Parents need to walk their talk and act on their ideals."
Do as I Say and As I Do
Another way you can harness eco-friendly behaviors to produce good stewards of the environment is by telling your children about the rationale behind your environmentally sound purchasing decisions. By explaining your behaviors, you marry your actions with the rationale, setting a strong example that can be easily emulated by your children.
Chiras encourages parents to always let their children know what they're doing. A parent should tell their child they chose to use cloth diapers because they're a reusable resource. They should know you wanted to use diapers that wouldn't end up in landfills or contaminate the ground. Doing so will help instill a deeper understanding of the importance of the environment to our lives, our economy, and our personal and collective future.
Tereson Thomas, founder and CEO of Mother of Eden and inventor of FuzziBunz® Pocket Diapers, is keenly aware of the need to share the mission behind her environmentally friendly behavior with her children. "We talk about why it is better to buy organic products when we go grocery shopping, and I go out of my way to point out the benefits to the special things we do such as buying organic milk, using cloth diapers and choosing reusable products instead of disposable. By making eco-friendly behaviors and choices a part of our lives, and reinforcing the benefit of doing so, our children adopt these things as part of themselves and will hopefully grow up to share this with their children."
Kellie Herring, a mom in Rockledge, Fla., has made it a priority to teach her three-year-old son to care for the earth. Even at a young age, the time she has spent educating her son about her natural product decisions has already started to pay off. "As a baby, I know my son had no idea that we recycled or used earth-friendly products. As he got older, I always told him his diapers were better than disposables and why. I know he understands that a little bit now because he told me that the "grass likes my diapers better."
An early effort to consistently and habitually teach your children to respect Mother Nature will, overtime, result in having them mimic your behavior - for the good of the land and their future.
Aimee Thompson is a freelance writer and mother to a 10-month-old son. She resides in Chicago, Illinois.
This article was commissioned by Mother of Eden. Sources are independent and are not-affiliated with Mother of Eden. No source was compensated for their comments in this article.