The other day I was chatting to a mum about my blog. She was intrigued as to what exactly green parenting is so I thought I would ramble on for a bit about my perspective on this.
For me, being a ‘green parent’ is a combination of being conscious of the environment and parenting in the most natural way that I can. I don’t embrace everything that is eco or natural, it is about what works for us as a family. For example, breastfeeding my children was always important to me and I managed this with both Lily and Thomas, fighting tooth and nail to overcome the pain and discomfort that I suffered in the first few weeks. However, some aspects of natural parenting just fill my with dread. We have never been a co-sleeping family and we never could be. Green daddy and I can barely function on disrupted sleep and I honestly think that we are able to be better parents because we don’t have a wriggly snoring child in our bed at night. That’s not to say I don’t agree with it, it’s just not how we do things.
What else do ‘green parents’ do?
Limit their effect on the environment. We buy second-hand when we can and pass on toys/clothes to friends so that they are not wasted. We never throw anything away unless it no longer has a use or cannot be used by someone else. We keep things until they are broken.
We teach our children about recycling We actively recycle at home but we also explain WHY we recycle. We encourage the children to think about passing on toys when they no longer want them, we talk about how compost is made and why we make it and we often up-cycle things that we have around the house. Basically, we try not to waste anything.
Eat organic food. OK, I will hold my hands up here and admit that we don’t shop for organic food. If money was no object then we would but it is simply too expensive for us at the moment. However, we do grow our own organic fruit and vegetables as much as possible. This means that we are helping the environment and also teaching our children about the benefits of growing your own food. As you can see in my previous post, you don’t need a big garden to grow a few veg!
Use cloth nappies As an ex real-nappy advisor, I can rant on about cloth nappies for ages but needless to say they will save you lots of money and you will not be sending hundreds of nappies to landfill. Cloth nappies can be used for 2 to 3 children, meaning the financial savings are huge! Disposable nappies take hundreds of years to rot down so the nappies you use for your children will still be in landfill when your children have grandchildren!
Limit screen time We don’t ban our children from watching television but we do limit what they watch and how often they watch it. Our children play so well using their imaginations that they don’t need ready-made entertainment on tap. They make up their own fun and their own games and I’m sure this is partly because this is what they have always been used to. A recent report from Public Health England showed some worrying results:
- higher levels of TV viewing are having a negative effect on children’s wellbeing, including lower self-worth, lower self-esteem and lower levels of self-reported happiness
- children who spend more time on computers, watching TV and playing video games tend to experience higher levels of emotional distress, anxiety and depression
Enjoy the great outdoors We love getting out and about during our free time. As a family, we enjoy the simple and natural things in life. Whether that’s walking in the woods, cycling, beach-combing or skimming stones on the river.
To me, all of the above things make a ‘green parent’. I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few points so feel free to add any in the comments!