How to manage being a green parent without being a mean parent

When I was in my teens and 20 living in Canada I was active with groups who were raising money for various environmental projects. 

However, in my late 20s and early 30s, I let all that slide.

I didn’t have a reusable coffee cup, I drove when I could have walked, I most likely didn’t recycle properly and certainly bought many plastic water bottles over the years. 

However, in the last two years I have made big changes and have started thinking and buying more consciously and have made a lot of improvements for myself and my family.

We all have keep cups, clean canteen water bottles and solid reusable lunch boxes. 

I buy fruit and veg without packaging and have ditched paper towels and toxic cleaners for reusable cloths and gentler cleaning products. 

One of the biggest changes I’ve made for myself is to buy a lot less in terms of clothing and nearly always from sustainable brands and I do my best to do the same when buying my daughter’s clothes.

Climate change in recent years has also come much more to the forefront of news and of people’s minds and it has definitely been implanted on school agendas. 

It is something my daughter’s teacher discusses with the class regularly and so many messages have resonated with Joan that she has then acted on. 

Like never ever letting a tap run, learning what household waste can be recycled and looking after our compost bin.

She has also learnt how bamboo toothbrushes are better than plastic ones and asked me to buy her one! 

She is learning all about the little things that if each of us would commit to doing how it could have a big impact longterm.

However, where we could really improve as a household and is something I am working on with Joan is excess buying of all these tiny plastic character toys that, lets face it, are only played with once and then will be filling up some landfill site for hundreds or thousands of years.

She loves surprises and squishies and slime! 

I didn’t want to be a grump or meanie about buying these things, so I just needed to get more creative with the things we make slime out of (non-toxic), how much of it we make plus I needed to steer her away from wanting all those lol surprises or pick-me pops in order to reduce our waste.

One of the solutions is getting Joan to understand if she buys three or four lol surprises she has spent X amount of money but if she saves this money she will then be able to buy something else, something bigger and better and that will last longer.

She gets a small weekly allowance and that is growing at the moment, I am proud of her learning to save. 

It is a fine line to walk getting her to understand that all those plastic toys aren’t great for the environment without totally killing the fun for her but I think we are getting there together.

I want to foster her love of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

One of our best and easiest recipes is two cups of lukewarm water, one tablespoon of contact solution, one teaspoon of cornstarch and food colouring. 

Another one we have tried is simply equal parts cornstarch and hair conditioner as it makes a super silky slime. 

By making your own you cut down on packaging, we keep reusing the same containers to mix and store the slime and there are loads of ideas online of different types you can make.

So let’s go forth and all be greener parents!

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