We are all imperfect, but I believe that we can all be extraordinary every day in the little things we do. Those details add up to make a big difference, especially when you are teaching your kids stewardship. It’s not necessarily the big sweeping overhauls that teach them to care for something, but the small, day-to-day actions that reveal how we can champion the things we care about.
And one of those things we should care about is Planet Earth. We all know that toxins are harming our one and only home: from toxic waste to greenhouse gases to deforestation and so much more. What’s really hurting our Earth? The belief that one person can’t make a difference but the truth is that small actions add up. If one person in just every few households made tiny, energy-saving changes, think about what a huge difference that would make! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but it’s the little things that count – and add up – to good stewardship of our planet.
Teach Your Kids to Be a Super Hero
As a mom raising energetic kids who go to a school with a mission of sustainability, my kids have a leg up but I must remember to teach my girls at home as well. Actively take steps with your own kids and show them how to use their power to be a superhero and save the Earth:
- Teach them to turn off the water when they are brushing their teeth or washing dishes. My kids are pretty good at this – they’d rather walk around and do stuff while they brush anyway!
- Turn off the lights. This is always a struggle for my kids but it’s important they know to turn off the lights – and the radio, TV, air conditioner, and all electricity – when they leave a room. We’re still working on this one – including using energy saving night lights!.
- Shorter showers. My daughter brought home a conservation kit last year which had an egg timer in a sticky holder so you put it in your bathroom and time your showers. My kids love to indulge, so this is a key area we all need to work on. And less frequent baths are a good idea too, according to a Washington Post article!
- Get your children to write a letter to elected officials supporting a transition to renewable energy or other initiatives locally. This is such a great project for schools and homeschoolers. A few years back, the kids in Amelia’s class wrote a letter to leadership in Emmaus about better recycling and their suggestions put into practice! That will make your child really feel like a superhero in their own community.
Be a Super Hero Yourself
Those are great ways to teach your children, but modeling is one of the most effective teaching tools we parents have – and one of these easiest!
- Start switching out regular bulbs for LEDs. They are pricey but they last longer and they are available everywhere. We’ve already started our switch over – buying these whenever we can as a bulb goes out. And bonus? They are safer than mercury-filled CFL bulbs which are dangerous to clean up should they blow! Keep an eye out for coupons and sales to save money.
- Get a smart thermostat. A tool like the Nest Thermostat can help you regulate your home better and possibly save you money by smartly adjusting temperatures while still keeping functions like cooling your home on hot summer days.
- Buy a solar powered battery recharger. This is a great idea for smartphones and tablets, which suck a lot of energy!
- Use an energy saving power strip for computers, printers, and other office equipment.
- Install solar on your home. This is something we are trying to budget for ourselves and we are doing our research too. (Solar is gaining popularity around where I live, that’s so exciting!)
Books on Living Green
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Green Enough: Eat Better, Live Cleaner, Be Happier–All Without Driving Your Family Crazy!Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the PlanetGreen Mama: Giving Your Child a Healthy Start and a Greener Future