“Among the most sacred gifts you can give your child is the gift of health. This gift is best given by example.”

Dr. Rand Olson

With today’s kids being exposed to endless commercial messages, junk media and even worse junk food, it’s hard to keep them focused on green and healthy habits.  It’s so easy for me to grab take out food and let them watch cartoons on nights when I’m tired. This is totally okay some nights, but we really try to make them eat healthy food and run outside every day.  My middle son Oli is our easy child, he loves veggies. My youngest Milo is our sugar monster, it’s a nonstop struggle with him.  

So here are a few easy basic tips for helping your children grow in a sane, balanced and environmentally responsible manner:

Eat organic, preferably local, fruits and vegetables. Avoid conventional (non-organic) produce like grapes, strawberries, blueberries and raisins, which are among the fruits regularly showing the highest levels of pesticide residue, according to the Environmental Working Group. Why expose your kids to questionable chemicals when healthier alternatives are becoming easier to find, and more affordable as well?

Reuse and recycle. Buy clothes at resale shops, some of which now offer like-new, name-brand and designer gear, and bring clothes your kids have outgrown to a consignment shop for resale. Shop for lightly-used toys, music, movies and video games on sites like eBay instead of buying new. The result: you’ll save money, the kids get new (to them) duds and playthings, and you reduce consumption of new resources.

Invest in a sturdy, stainless steel lunchbox and drink containers instead of buying disposable, single-serving snack boxes and plasticware for your children’s lunches. Not only will you reduce waste, but you’ll prevent your child from ingesting the chemicals that can leach into foods and drinks from plastic containers and wrappers.

Make your own healthy treats together. Even three- and four-year-olds can help stir together oatmeal, raisins and peanut butter for homemade granola, or spoon organic yogurt and fruits into freezer trays for homemade snacks.

Approach screen time viewing cautiously. Choose taped or non-commercial programs whenever possible to limit your child’s exposure to ads for fast food, sugary cereals, junk foods and fad toys.  Disney Plus is our jam and there are no commercials.  

Choose natural, chemical-free products for your home whenever you can. Many shampoos, soaps and sunscreens contain petroleum-based ingredients, and some personal-care and household items are made with phthalates, which some studies have identified as endocrine disruptors (interfering with normal hormonal processes).

Keep your kids busy with activities that don’t encourage consumption or waste: walks on the beach, bike rides to a public playground, bus trips to a museum and regular stops at the public library.  

Sleep is so important, a healthy sleep routine has been our eternal struggle but kids need so much sleep to grow into healthy happy humans.  But studies are showing childhood sleep routines are beneficial to healthy adults. 

One final tip: the more you build habits of conservation, reduce consumption and healthful eating and living yourself, the easier it will be to pass those along to your children. Kids know the difference between “Do as I say,” and “Do as I do.” Make sure your own lifestyle follows the “do” path.

Related: 

Raising Happy Healthy Green Kids

Healthline has so much information about raising healthy happy kids.

100 Ways to Go Green with Your Family  from my family blog! 

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