As a parent living in a consumer and technology-driven world, it’s hard not to give into kids who want the latest electronic gadget, video game or shiny new toy. A small family budget and desire to lessen our household’s carbon footprint has forced us to evaluate our daily habits. In our efforts to downshift our consumption, we’ve discovered the many benefits of living an eco friendly family lifestyle.
Green Families Reduce Energy Use
Becoming a more eco friendly family involves reducing energy consumption. Encourage children to shut off lights, radios and other electronics when they leave a room. Set aside a few hours each day to enjoy each other’s company without relying on electronics. Turn off the television and play a game of cards or go for a bike ride together.
If your children are older, consider sharing the energy bill with your kids each month and set a goal for reducing energy use. Encourage everyone to come up with some ideas on ways to cut energy. If the goal is met, celebrate by going to a local park or by having a picnic in the backyard.
Shop Garage Sales and Second Hand Stores
For affordable and guilt-free shopping, seek out garage sales, flea markets and second hand stores when your kids out grow their clothing. Green families not only avoid the resources required to make new clothes and they also give old clothing new life. When your kids outgrow items, consider donating the items back for another eco friendly family to enjoy.
Second hand stores and garage sales are also great places to find gently used video games, software and electronics. To become a more eco friendly family, take time to evaluate new purchases and avoid impulse shopping.
Find New Uses for Items You Already Have
Living more frugally encourages creativity. Instead of throwing out a perfectly good t-shirt, green families find a new way to use it. Repurpose shirts by turning them into cleaning cloths, napkins and even throw pillows. Old magazines, school assignments and coloring books can be used to create a fun collage or to decorate an old shoebox that now serves as a home for small dolls, cars or handheld electronic games.
Foster a Love for the Outdoors
One of the best ways to become a more eco friendly family is to nurture a love for the outdoors in your children. Take your kids hiking, camping, fishing or biking. Visit local and national state parks. Learn about the birds and wildlife that call your region home. Plant a garden and ask your children to help water and harvest the produce grown. Visit a local farm or farmer’s market to help children gain a greater understanding of where the food they eat comes from. Consider joining a nature club for families or creating one of your own.
Use Green Cleaning and Personal Care Items
To help become a more eco friendly family, be sure to seek out green cleaning and personal care items. Avoid items made with toxic and petrochemicals. Look for cleaning supplies and lotions made with natural, plant based ingredients or essential oils instead.
Becoming a more eco friendly family can be a great way to bring your family closer together. Encourage each member of the family to share ideas on ways to reduce energy use, reuse items and avoid unnecessary purchases.