Taking on the zero-waste lifestyle was relatively simple for me, as an adult. I read about it, applied and considered all the tips everybody had for me, I did everything gradually, and things changed so smoothly that I hardly remember doing them differently before!
The hardest part was the kids. How could I teach them to live an eco-friendly lifestyle that they would want to carry into their adult life? One that would go against almost everything our society pushes onto them daily?
I am by no way an expert (I will not pretend to be Dr. Nadia haha!), but I thought it might help a few of you out there to share what worked best for my tiny tribe.
- Make it a family decision. We sat together and talked about it as a family, so everybody was included! The kids decided WITH us to make a difference by changing a few daily habits. They committed to helping us with chores that would lead to a more eco-friendly lifestyle such as composting, recycling and they even wanted to help make all the cleaning products. They feel like they contribute in a very tangible way (it’s not just a feeling, they really do help!!), and this is where the difference lies in knowing they'll want to continue making these changes and applying this knowledge later in their lives.
- Make it fun! The most important part of this was to show them how easy it is, and never a burden. When our town finally announced the composting campaign, we sat outside as a family and Dad started drawing with chalks on the pavement everything that would go in the compost from then on, along with what we could recycle. Even our 5 year old can compartmentalize it all expertly now! But what I’m sure she remembers most is that time spent as a family talking about things that matter.
- Read about it as a family. There are tons of articles to read on the internet, but most are addressed to adults, so here are a few books that we truly enjoyed reading before bedtime with the kids:
4- There is so much more joy in giving than receiving. And that is a beautiful and meaningful lesson to teach our children. They will learn how to live a simple life, and to find happiness in moments and people rather than in things. It starts with rewarding them with activities and time spent together rather than with gifts. It can be a special outing with mom or dad, or with a friend. This will also trigger their own reflexes when it comes to gifting later in their lives.
5- Set the example, be the example. An image is worth a thousand words, but so is an action! If they see putting our words into action on a daily basis, they will inevitably mimic us and learn in the absolute best possible way.