School’s out, parents have time off, and the calendar is suddenly a lot less crammed with music lessons, soccer games, and staff meetings. All of which makes summer the perfect chance to hang out with those people we live with — you know, our family. So, why not embrace this fleeting opportunity and bond over something meaningful? In our hectic day-to-day lives, it’s understandable that convenience often takes priority over everything else — including the environment. But with a little downtime to relax and regroup, now’s the perfect time to examine how your household treats the planet.
Embracing sustainable values and practices in the present day can help bring about a sustainable future later in life. The key is to lead by example and model the kind of behavior you want to see in your children. Who knows — you might raise tomorrow's green heroes thanks to some of these eco-friendly parenting tips.
Develop a connection with nature
If we can teach our children to embrace Mother Nature, everything else will come — pun intended — quite naturally. Nurture your children’s love for the environment by spending time outdoors. Plan regular family outings to parks, nature reserves, and hiking trails, allowing your children to explore and appreciate local ecosystems, wildlife, and biodiversity's critical role. You can take it further by encouraging gardening, birdwatching, or even starting a small backyard compost pile. Engage in volunteer work or community cleanup events to make a tangible difference in your surroundings. Immersing your family in nature fosters a sense of responsibility and appreciation for the Earth’s resources.
Teach the importance of reduce, reuse, and recycle
Empower your children with the knowledge and understanding of the three pillars of sustainability: reduce, reuse, and recycle. You can teach them the importance of minimizing waste by reducing consumption, reusing items whenever possible, and recycling materials that can be repurposed. Engage in fun activities like creating upcycled crafts or organizing a family swap meet where everyone can bring items they don’t use. Borrow from your neighbors and let them borrow from you, make instead of buy when possible, and follow other strategies to reduce, reuse, and recycle in your household. There are so many ways to instill these values in your children. And by embedding these principles into their daily lives and yours, you showcase a better way to live responsibly.
Make weekly chores eco-friendly
Challenge the kids to greenify all those dreary, dreaded household tasks. Show them that sweeping can be just as effective instead of vacuuming floors — without plugging anything in. Doing laundry? Demonstrate how they can keep both their clothes and the planet clean by washing in cold water, ensuring full loads, and swapping out ordinary detergents for SaltyLama’s eco-friendly laundry sheets. They’ll appreciate how our sheets conveniently arrive pre-measured, create no mess, and come in biodegradable lightweight packaging that’s much easier to carry than the usual heavy plastic jugs. And if they’re still not convinced, find out why laundry doesn’t have to be such a chore.
Make mindful consumer choices
Guide your children to make mindful consumer choices that prioritize sustainability. Involve them in shopping trips and highlight products with the proper eco-friendly certifications, such as organic, fair trade, or cruelty-free. Teach them to look for packaging made from recycled or all-natural materials, while carefully helping them understand the implications of single-use plastic. Remember positivity is key here! With that in mind, make the most conscious choices by prioritizing locally grown produce and handmade items in your area. Show them that they have access to almost everything they need without going too far.
Cook more fresh meals at home
One of the best things you can do for your children is teach them how to prepare fresh, home-cooked meals. Take time every week to cook together and allow your kids to be part of the process. Whether they’re harvesting veggies or herbs from the garden or helping you bake bread and stir ingredients into a hearty soup, every action teaches them the beauty of sustainable cooking.
Reduce energy consumption
Make it a family practice to turn off lights and unplug electronic devices when not in use. Involve your children in energy-saving activities like hanging laundry to dry instead of using a dryer, adjusting thermostat settings to save on heating or cooling, and using natural light during the day. By fostering a culture of energy conservation, you instill habits that promote sustainability and reduce your family's carbon footprint — a fantastic way to be an eco-friendly family!
Practice water conservation
While you’re saving energy, save water as well! There is plenty to teach on the importance of saving water. Encourage shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing teeth, and promptly repair any leaks or dripping faucets. If you have the tools, you can also show them that rainwater harvesting systems are a great way to care for your garden, preserve water, and live sustainably as a family.
Reduce your intake of single-use plastic as a family
It’s still technically Plastic Free July, so why not lead by example and decide now to ditch the single-use plastic in your household? Replace disposable items like plastic water bottles, straws, and shopping bags with reusable alternatives like canvas totes, paper straws, and stainless-steel bottles. Show them the benefit of cutting out single-use plastic by bringing them to beach or park cleanups. Here your young ones can witness firsthand the impact of plastic pollution on our ecosystems. And by actively reducing single-use plastics, you can empower your children to make choices that protect our oceans and wildlife.
Be mindful of transportation
Inspiring eco-conscious transportation habits in your household is one of the best ways to live sustainably! Get together and walk, bike, or use public transportation to get wherever you’re going. While it might not be feasible on some journeys, depending on where you live, demonstrating the possibilities and creating a positive example is key to shaping your children’s values. By prioritizing mindful transportation choices, you can reduce carbon emissions and inspire your children to make eco-friendly choices in their future. And if you haven’t heard, cars and planes are the most destructive forms of transportation on the environment.
Parents have the incredible opportunity to shape the values and actions of the next generation. We can nurture our children’s sense of responsibility by embracing an eco-conscious lifestyle and involving our children in sustainable practices. Who knows what greatness your children will achieve thanks to the foundation you gave them?