Parenting

5 planet-friendly tips parents can learn from kids

Jennifer believes that real Earth Day lessons can be learned from our children.

Jennifer’s son takes the lead during an outdoor adventure.

In the week leading up to Earth Day there have been many wonderful blog posts here at Today’s Parent, and elsewhere on the web, about ways that parents can teach their kids to care for our planet. I’ve always said my children are smarter than me and that there is much I can learn from them. As the next generation of caretakers for our planet, I believe it is adults who can learn how to make the world a cleaner and healthier place.

Here are just five things that children do naturally to take care of our planet.

Put garbage where it belongs
Last year, I wrote about the disappointing amount of illegal dumping on my neighbourhood running trail. I’d like to say in the last 12 months that there has been an improvement in how much trash is in the ditches and waterways in my community. Sadly, now that the snow has melted, there is just as much garbage as ever. Toaster ovens, bathroom sinks and toilet seats are just a few of the bigger pieces of trash, but the scariest discoveries of all are the beer bottles and cans in the ditches. This is all garbage that adults create and toss — when was the last time you found a sippy cup or Hot Wheels toy car in the ditch?

Be happy with hand-me-downs
Hand-me-downs are coveted in our house, with both children excited about the ubiquitous recycling bags of clothes we inherit from our friends — many of their favourite outfits have been comprised of hand-me-downs. So why is it that adults feel the need to buy a new outfit to feel good? Besides, clothing swaps with friends or buying second-hand is a great way save money.

Eat only what your body needs
Babies and children are great appetite self-regulators, eating only when they are hungry and stopping when they are full. If you’ve ever eaten with your eyes or eaten emotionally and suffered from a food hangover from over-eating, you know exactly what I mean. Reduce food waste by eating the freshest food grown closest to your home — I promise you will feel much more satisfied knowing that you’re supporting a Canadian farmer.

Walk, ride or carpool to where you need to go
Before your children get their driver’s license, they need to hitch a ride with an adult, walk or ride a bicycle to get where they need to go. With the freedom that comes with four wheels, so does a level of laziness. Just once a week leave your car at home or carpool with a friend.

Earth “Day” is every day
The days leading up to April 22 are always filled with reminders to conserve resources and reduce waste, but what happens after that? Make every day Earth Day, with your entire family doing their part to make the planet cleaner and everyone healthier.

How is your family recognizing Earth Day?