The air is less polluted, the sky clearer and the water cleaner. Self-isolation and social distancing have, to an extent, reduced the carbon footprint ,giving the planet a chance to breathe and wildlife to be restored. Staying indoors and practicing good hygiene is the single most important thing every individual should be doing during these testing times around the globe. On the other hand, while taking these safety measures, another practice we could carry out while indoors is to incorporate sustainability into our lifestyle.
Along with ourselves, let’s also take this opportunity of self-isolation for the future leaders of this planet,and the kids, and teach them the simple steps of becoming an eco-warrior from their own home. We can teach them the basics of respecting the environment and how they can become a responsible citizen of this planet.
With some simple tips, they can change the world.
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”
- Thomas Fuller
Teach the kids the importance of saving water by turning off the tap while they’re brushing their teeth and washing their hands. Sure, washing hands has become a top priority nowadays but instead of allowing excessive water flow, guide them on turning on the tap to first rinse the hands, then turn it off while applying soap or hand wash, scrubbing for a good 20 seconds and then turning it back on to wash the the soap off. And for the ones who love long showers and spend time playing in the bathroom, just a set a time limit for their bath so that the water usage is controlled. Try giving brownie points for short showers!
To get them into the habit of using eco-friendly products, replace your bathroom toiletries with natural soaps and hand washes that are also child-friendly. Some good ones include Rohr Remedy’s Honey Myrtle Body Wash or ANSC’s Sensitive Skin Pack, which includes the Eucalyptus Euphoria, an effective natural antiseptic soap for coughs and colds.
“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” - Abigail Van Buren
Becoming eco-conscious begins by doing basic household chores. Encourage the kids to take out the bins and teach them about recycling. They can learn about which items can be recycled and how. This can be done by organising separate bins for paper, plastics, cardboard and so on. You can also get them to be creative through this by inspiring them to craft things, such as flower pots or accessories with the waste, hence instilling the concept of upcycling and zero-waste.
Likewise, if you teach your child to wash dishes after dinnertime with the absolute minimum amount of water and eco-friendly soap. A bar of awesome eco-friendly dish soap is Seed and Sprout Co's vegan and plastic-free Dish Bar used alongside Eco Max’s Dish Brush, which is made from sustainable coconut fiber.
Similarly, make it a rule to switch off the lights and power points around the house when they don’t need them. This will eventually be a routine that goes hand in hand with eco-conscious household chores.
“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden”
- Robert Brault
Gardening is one of the most fun and effective ways children learn about sustainability. A simple and fun way to teach about seasons and how things grow is by harvesting your own vegetables or plants, which also promotes healthy eating habits. Entertaining cards like Little Veggie Patch Deck of Cards guides on the how-to of gardening and the Kids Seed Kit packed with healthy heirloom seeds, planting instructions, biodegradable propagating pots, and reusable plant labels is a great kick-start to getting the little fingers dirty! For those kids who like to fancy up their plants, try growing them in cute ceramic pots like the Giraffe Planter, Octopus Planter or Cat and Bunny Planter from Gail Ceramics.
Additionally, since children find wildlife fascinating, it will be ideal to teach them about bees and beekeeping or setting up bird feeders. Some great books on bees and beekeeping include Backyard Bees Book or Book of Bees. This can encourage them to connect with the natural world and become ecologically conscious.
“Plastic will be the main ingredient of all our grandchildren’s recipes.”
Educate the kids on the harmful effects of plastic on one’s health and the environment. Get them to use alternatives to plastic in their daily life. Some great alternatives include the Hydro Flask, Earth Bottle x Love Mae, the stainless steel CrunchBox + Pots and Smoothie Cup from Seed and Spout Co., cotton Snack Pack from 4 My Earth and the Bamboo Toothbrush from Aroha Earth. Reusable food storages such as Beeswax Wraps, Eco Food Jars, Silicon Fresh Food Pouch, Reusable Produce Bags or silicone Food Huggers which are designed to embrace fruits and vegetables of all sizes and shapes, providing a comfortable space for any cut leftovers.
Instead of plastic toys, let them have fun, get creative and innovative with non-toxic, plant-based (and edible!) crayons from Eco Crayons, wooden toys you can put together from Have a Nice Day or even crocheted toys from Pebble.
“The easiest way to open your mind to new ideas and concepts is to open a book and read.”
One of the best resources to teach kids how to be environmentally conscious and to inspire them to become an eco-warrior is through books. For instance, learn how to be a creative eco-warrior through the book Be a Maker, explore what makes our planet and how we live it through Here We Are, cook quick tasty vegetarian dishes through the Little Green Kitchen cookbook, dive into the process of growth through Things That Grow and embrace nature and its beings through the books, A World of Plants, A to Z Story of Australian Animals and My First Book of Nature.
All in all, let’s make the most of this self-isolation or lockdown and inspire our children to truly appreciate the world out there. As T.S Elliot would say, “Home is where one starts from.”