Is it me or does the thought of saving the world cramp your schedule? I’ll tell you flat out that adding greener parenting to my already full plate is just one more obligation. However, it’s an important one that I’m committed to follow, if only so my kids will have one less thing to pin on me later. But you have to admit, the truth is inconvenient. What we need are baby steps.

Green Parenting is a Process

The good news is that it's fairly painless to reduce your family's impact on the environment. Key word: reduce. You don't have to change the world all at once. None of us can reverse global warming overnight, but the cumulative effect of small, simple things will change our world. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

While there are many ways to reduce your family’s environmental impact, try not to become overwhelmed. Pick one or two changes and make the effort to stick with it. Make greener parenting a process and model greener choices for your children. By doing this, you give kids permission and incentive to create lifelong habits of conservation.

  • If you use paper cups in the bathroom, you could switch to plastic. You'll save paper for the earth and maybe some money for your children’s college education. You can even turn a regular faucet into a water fountain. Kids will love it, especially if you let them slobber all over the metal part!
  • Speaking of water, how many plastic water bottles is your family dumping into landfills? Make sure those make it to the recycle bin. It takes a great deal of energy to bottle all that water. Is the water from your tap really so awful or can you live with it? Consider filtering water instead of buying bottled. The greenest parents use refillable water bottles, taking advantage of inexpensive tap water.
  • Packing your child’s lunch is a great way to influence nutrition, but it can lead to a lot of waste. Let your child choose a fun, sturdy lunch bag or box and save a paper bag a day. Buy a sandwich keeper and lose the plastic bags. Get your lunch snacks in bulk and package portions yourself in reusable plastic containers. It seems like extra work, but it really just takes a minute to transfer a handful of crackers into another container. If that puts too much a strain on your morning routine, do it the night before.

Can’t you breathe easier already? It’s not so hard. The trick is to pick one thing and stick with it. You’ll be doing your part for now. When you’re ready, pick something new. Take baby steps and before you know it you’ll be living in an A-Frame next to the creek where you bathe!