Green Parenting and Other Important Things Your Kids Won't Learn in School

By Jackie Nunes

Posted on Tuesday 30th October 2018
Child walking with father


Our children need a well-rounded education. Schools are great at teaching math, reading, and social sciences. However, there are many other things your kids can learn better at home. Recycling, eating fresh foods grown locally, and learning basic first aid are just a few. If you want to raise your kids to look out for themselves, other people, and the planet, here are some lessons you might want to impart.

A Natural Approach to Nutrition and Food

Teach your kids to appreciate what healthy foods do for their bodies. Then take the following steps to help them learn more about where natural and organic foods come from, besides the grocery store.

  • Talk about where food originates. Many kids don't know where food comes from before it gets to the grocery store. When kids know how food is grown and who produces it, they develop a deeper appreciation of what's available (and what’s not).

  • Grow a garden. If you have a yard, it's possible to grow vegetables. If you're in an apartment, try creating your own window box garden of herbs and flowers. Let your children pick out the seeds they want to build up a sense of anticipation.

  • Visit a farmers market. At the local farmers market, your kids can learn about how food travels from field to market to table. Older children can talk to farmers and ask the questions they’ve always wondered about.

  • Build a greenhouse.  You can build a greenhouse at home to keep your plants warm in the winter. The glass or plastic sides let in solar radiation, but greenhouses reflect heat as it rises from the ground. For a faster build, you can rent an aerial lift, and there are more rototillers and other equipment.

Consideration for Others

There are many skills your children can learn that will help them and other people – and consequently, the world at large.

  • Learn first aid and CPR. Once your child learns first aid and CPR, they can help others in an emergency. For proof of the value of these skills, read the story of a girl who saved her friend’s life using basic CPR.

  • Do volunteer work. Encourage your kids to volunteer in the community. They can help out at a homeless shelter or pick up roadside trash, or they can choose volunteer work that matches their goals and interests.

Concern for the Planet

Making small changes each month can help you achieve an eco-friendly lifestyle, even if you live in an apartment. Involve your kids in adding one green habit to your routine every month, and you'll soon be running a green household. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Start plugging your small appliances into a smart power strip so that you can turn them off when they aren't being used. Appliances still draw power from the grid if they're plugged into a wall socket, so a power strip can be a real energy-saving tool.

  • Buy a water-saving showerhead to conserve water for a grateful planet.

  • Change your air filters before the cold months arrive and the furnace starts pumping in warm air. When your air filters are clean, your heater runs more efficiently, which improves indoor air quality.

  • Buy draft stoppers to keep cold or warm air from escaping under the door. This can save some money on your utility bills, as well.

  • Opt out of junk mail. Keeping your mailbox clear saves wood and other resources used to make and print on paper, as well as the fuel involved in delivery.

Recycling as a Routine

Children can get really passionate about recycling, once they learn how to do it right and why it’s an important job. Whether your recycling goes to the curb or to a recycling center, have your kids help you for a valuable learning experience. Before long, the habit will be ingrained in your young eco-citizens.

  • Visit all parts of the triangle. See if there are things your household can reduce, reuse or repurpose before tossing or recycling them.

  • Teach your kids to recycle – but handle the glass yourself.  

  • Practice the rules. Each town may specify its own methods, but most want you to rinse used bottles and remove the caps, and fold cardboard boxes to take up less space.

  • Divvy up tasks. Younger children can work together and count the items to make the process more fun; older kids can help carry bins or bags to the curb.

  • Make crafts. Recycled, eco-friendly crafting can be both cost-effective and fun.

  • Label with photos. For recyclables that need to be sorted, one great way to help kids remember what goes where is to attach photos of the items that should go in each bin.

  • Keep it up. Once this is part of your daily or weekly routine, you can save more time with the kids helping.


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