Earth Day might be over, but every day is a good day to pitch in and do your part—and every little bit counts.
Recently, my four-year-old daughter asked to paint. When I told her that we were out of paint at the moment, she replied, “Can we order some then?” Order some? What was this crazy kid talking about? Then, it hit me. Apparently, my online shopping habit has gotten so out of hand that my daughter now assumes that anything she wants will magically appear at our door within two business days. She’s not wrong exactly, but I had no idea my child was watching me so closely already.
Right from the start, our kids are watching everything we do and absorbing all of our habits, both the good and bad.
This little scene really hit home. Right from the start, our kids are watching everything we do and absorbing all of our habits, both the good and bad. With Earth Day having just passed, this got me thinking: what messages have I been sending my children about consumption? And what can I do to model more earth-friendly habits? Here’s what I came up with: six small things that you, and I, can do today to save the world, and model responsible citizenship for our children.
Hopefully, you’re already doing this, but if not, now’s the time to start. Like, right now. Keep a small bin under your sink so that you can easily stash recyclable materials throughout the day, then, in the evening, take the bin out to the garage. Get the kids involved by having them help you sort the materials on garbage night and talk about why it’s so important to recycle while you do it. Another way to get kids excited about recycling is to use the materials for art. Egg cartons make a great paint tray and toilet paper rolls can be used to make just about anything.
Pick up Garbage
Let your child see you picking up garbage whenever you see it and they’ll learn what it means to do our part in the community. We now keep some old plastic bags and disposable gloves handy for trips to the park. On our way over, we pick up garbage as we walk, then drop the bag and gloves in the park garbage can when we get there. It’s so easy to do, and my daughter loves it. Then, she’s rewarded with a play at the park.
Purchase Used Items (and Sell Yours) Using VarageSale
One of the easiest ways to make the earth happy is to reduce the amount of perfectly usable goods that end up in landfills. Getting this done has never been so pain-free and fun thanks to the buy and sell app VarageSale. Our family has used VarageSale to source a baby swing, toys for our littles and bicycles (yes, plural) for my husband. I’ve even gotten lucky and landed some amazing antique furniture, all without blowing our budget or contributing to all the waste and pollution that goes into mass production. The best part is I never have to worry about who I am buying from since VarageSale connects you with people in your local community.
With the click of a button, we reach tonnes of families and do our part for the environment, while saving money.
When we’ve outgrown the swing, toys or bicycles, VarageSale is there to help us sell much more quickly and easily than if we were to host a garage sale. Yes, gone are the days of stashing unused items in the basement, taking up loads of space. No more countless hours spent making and putting up signs! With the click of a button, we reach tonnes of families and do our part for the environment, while saving money. Plus, our kids get to enjoy those warm fuzzies when they pass on a toy they’re no longer using to another lucky kid. Win-win-win!
Hand-me-downs get a bad rap, but they are actually the best.
Hand-me-downs get a bad rap, but they are actually the best. Every time my friend drops off clothes that no longer fit her daughter for mine, it’s literally like Christmas. Her favourite pieces are the ones that were once loved by her best friends or family. We always try to pay it forward and save her still wearable pieces with our friends and family. Don’t have someone to trade clothes with? Try Little Saturday Market to source or sell your babe’s pre-loved clothes online. They make it so easy and affordable to be eco-conscious. Pre-loved isn’t just for littles, by the way. I still trade clothes with my girlfriends when we go up or down a size and can pass on nice pieces to each other. It always brings back fun memories of high school closet raids.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you enjoy shopping as much as I do, it is probably going to be the most difficult one to achieve. But teaching children to value and show gratitude for the things they already have is important; in fact, studies have shown that practicing daily gratitude does wonders for our mental health and happiness. By buying less, we are also reducing the amount of garbage we produce on a daily basis. Instead of the “one toy in, one toy out” rule, how about the “let’s just enjoy these toys we already have and not buy anymore for a while” rule?
Volunteering can sound intimidating for parents already low on time and energy, but a lot of local community organizations can offer very small ways you can help, even as a one off. For example, once a year, we help clean up our local trails so everyone can use and enjoy it for the year to come. Feel like you have breastfeeding on lockdown after a long struggle? Attend a La Leche League meeting and help other mothers through theirs. Volunteering can also be a great way to meet like-minded people, especially if it’s around something you are already interested in and use like the local library, playgroup or historical society. Time commitments can vary. Speak with someone in the group to assess if it’s doable for you and your family.
The important thing to know and pass on to your kids is that the little things matter and any small bit helps.
There you have it: six easy things you can do to model responsible citizenship and earth-friendly habits for your children. The important thing to know and pass on to your kids is that the little things matter and any small bit helps. Choose one thing today, and you’re on your way to feeling good and helping make the world a better place. Is there anything you would add to this list?
VarageSale is a buy and sell community to help you meet great people, make extra money and find secondhand items at a fraction of the retail price. Join a local community to buy and sell with real people you can trust, and know that their awesome admins are keeping everything mom-approved.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.