Being eco-aware and Earth friendly as a family can be quite difficult. Obviously, two almost-two year old boys don’t grasp the idea of “Darling, please turn the tap off, we can’t waste water.” Or “Please turn the light off, electricity is expensive.” But we are working on that.
What we can do as parents, though, is instill those values in our growing children on their level. Teach them to respect everyone and everything. Teach them that there are limited resources in the world. Help them understand that there are less fortunate people all over, not just in third-world countries, but just around the corner.
I feel extremely fortunate to be raising my children and living in the one of the most beautiful countries in the world. And I want them to have that same feeling. Their home, their city, their country, their world.. is home. And it’s the only one we may ever have.
I know I’ve talked about cloth nappies before
. But until we have finished potty training, we will still be using these. We do however use disposables when I know we will be out for a few hours and overnight. But just using at least one set of cloth nappies a day makes a difference.
It doesn’t get much easier than this. When the kiddos are wearing cloth nappies, cloth wipes just go with the nappies into the nappy bin, after the poo is scraped into the toilet of course. No having to pull out wipes that can’t go into the sewers.
When we can’t use cloth wipes, we use biodegradable wipes. Either Little Genie Brand
. Luckily, we can find them at any of the larger supermarkets here in NZ. But if you can’t, try the local co-op for something similar where you are. Also, if you live in an older house with older plumbing, DO NOT THROW “Flushable” wipes down the toilet. They are flushable, but they will get stuck on tiny little cracks in the pipes which means everything else behind it gets stuck and it’s just gross, not to mention expensive to fix.
Highchairs – Wooden vs Plastic
This is more of a personal preference thing for me. Even though the plastic chairs we were looking at were easier to clean and quite durable and also quite a bit cheaper, we decided to go with wooden highchairs. I could go into detail about why plastic is bad and wood is at least a mostly renewable resource and will eventually breakdown, but you get the idea. For us, it was worth the cost to have something nice that was going to be a fixture in our house for quite a long time. Also, the chairs we did end up getting are super adjustable, and not molded plastic, so they will last the next few years.
Again, with the plastic people! I know, I know, potty training, which will be starting in full force this summer (hopefully), shouldn’t be yet another thing to think about in a “green” sense. And yes, I know, I know, you can get plastic potties for damn cheap, but what happens when the kids are properly using the toilet? They could probably be recycled, but after a little research, we found these
. How could I say no?! A biodegradable potty that the boys can help put into the garden and help plant something lovely as a reward that they will remember… Um yes please. Two please!
Ok. No brainer. We are library regulars. We make a morning of it usually. We spend about five minutes getting books for me, and about 30-40 minutes reading and finding books for the boys. The boys have their own library cards, which the late return fees are a lot less expensive than an adult card. That’s a bonus. After that, since our library in the city is the best ever, we go the cafe, and have a little lunch – where there is a play area for the boys to run around. Paying for parking, a couple croissants and a random late fee is worth it. While we do have heaps of books for the boys, it’s nice to find new gems that the boys want read – over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and….
The Toy Library
The idea of a Toy Library was something completely new to me. Think a library but instead of books, you take out toys. How amazingly simple! Well, simple is the idea, it’s actually quite impressive to run. As a member of the Toy Library, you pay a membership fee, pay for missing pieces of toys, and have to donate a small about time. But in return, you can take out toys that you maybe would never buy for your kids. Slides, water tables, play kitchens, heaps of different duplo sets and lego sets, dress ups, board games, puzzles, bikes… the list goes on and on and on! Then instead of having to throw them into the landfill if you had to buy them, you return them to the library and get something else and the next family can use it. I really think something like this would take off back in my hometown – looking at you Central Baptist Church 😉 ! I love our toy library
I can’t stress this enough. We try to eat and use as much organic produce, meat and products as we can. We get the majority of our fruit and veg delivered to our front door from Vegeboxes
and then do a fortnightly stock up at Commonsense Organics
. I guess eating organic food is just the norm for us. There are heaps of articles and research about why organic is best, but for me, it all comes down to the way it tastes. If you can’t afford to eat all organic all the time, find out about the Dirty Dozen
Grow your own!
In a couple years time, when the boys are bigger and able to help out in the garden a little bit more, I’d like to have a really well stock produce front lawn. Jacob does an amazing job for what little time he has, and just being able to have access to fresh herbs and a few veggies is really rewarding!
Below are some of our adventures in gardening!
Again, one of those things that we use for the taste and the benefits, which you can Google. Strangely, what sold me on it, was the fact that, because we order so much of it, we receive it in a 10L pail once a week that is then brought back to the farm. We have a cycle of glass bottles that we use to keep the milk in our fridge, which cuts down on all of the plastic jugs going for recycling.
So, in my mind, I think these little things will make the planet a better place, or New Zealand, or my boys’ lives, or maybe it’s just my conscience. But there are so many things you CAN do to help.
Hope this is helpful or a little inspiring to those that would like to do something!
I’d love to hear more ideas and things you do!!