Our journey to sustainability has been indivisible from our journey as parents. All I want to do is make the world a little bit better for my babies, but also I'm trying to make my babies a little bit better for the world. Because they are the future.
I'm trying to change their world now so they can change the world in the future. So they understand how to tread lightly on the Earth, to take only what they need, to be thankful for and educated about what the world can do for us. I want them to think that being kind to the planet is the only way to live. I want to raise explorers, activists, innovators and change-makers. Because maybe the best thing I do for the planet is not something I do but someone I created.
That's all well and good but how do we do that? I think for kids it's important for them to think about consumerism and everyday activism. My two talk about 'new to us' and being guardians not owners of stuff so they understand they need to take care of things, pass them on, accept secondhand stuff rather than getting new and limit what they need rather than what they want. Part of this is why we're doing a Not Buying New Year as a family (you can check out our updates on this blog).
So what about everyday activism? Squishy and Red are involved in all of the cleaning using natural products at home. They help load and unload the dishwasher and washing machine, they help hang, sort and put away laundry. They dust, they vacuum, they put away their toys (with much prompting). We involve them in cooking, sorting the recycling and even DIY tasks. We see doing household tasks as 'home-schooling,' as useful learning that develops necessary life skills in our kids.
They also help keep us in track: they help us monitor the thermostat and smart meter to help us cut energy/water waste, they're involved with meal planning or helping make packaging free snacks. They sort recycling, do plastic audits and plastic free shops. Why? Because we feel like giving them an understanding and responsibility for tasks in our home gives them a respect and responsibility for the things we use, own and the world we live in from an early age. It helps them get a feel for the processes of our home and opens conversations about why we do things a certain way without being pushy, preachy or confrontational.
Hopefully they'll grow up thinking this is just the normal way to live. Especially if your kids are a little older, you could even ask your children's teachers to set chores as homework; which let's face it is way more useful to all of us and give our kids the practical skills they need to be mindful and capable adults than lots of homework they get.
On our shop we have some resources specifically for children and families on our including Helpful Kids Eco Warriors cards and Eco Joe book, as well as a whole range of eco products for the home that we use and our Curious Kids Subscription boxes with a contact us option if you want to chat more about raising eco-conscious kids. 😊