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trips for green living

Teach your kids that short showers help save the environment. Photo by Jovanmandic

5 easy green living tips for families

Reducing your family's carbon footprint doesn't have to be difficult

Are you looking for green living tips to reduce your family’s environmental footprint? If so, you’re not alone.

But the truth is, helping improve the environment doesn’t have to be difficult or totally life-changing. Here are some great green living tips from minimalist and decluttering expert Denaye Barahona.

Barahona is a therapist, author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast.

Sustainability needs to be sustainable to you

When we commit to making change, it’s important to remember what we’re capable of. We can do anything, but we can’t do everything all at once. If you go big and try to make too many changes simultaneously, it’s going to be hard to maintain. Instead of trying to revolutionize your lifestyle overnight, pick a few minor modifications to ease into it instead, like using a HydroFlask and a reusable straw lid for your water – or similar reusable water bottles, just look for the Reusable, Recycled or Recognized badge! These things should be easy for you to sustain as time passes.  

Tips for green living

Minimalist and decluttering expert Denaye Barahona offers tips for reducing your family’s environmental footprint.

Build your connection with nature

Raising green kids can be as simple as taking them outside to play. When we have a connection and appreciation for the natural world, we will feel compelled to protect it.

Another way to build this connection to the natural world is incorporating green, eco-friendly toys into playtime – like these options from Green Toys Inc., many made from recycled material like milk jugs and yogurt cups. It’s a fun way to teach kids about reusing materials and the importance of recycling.

Start buying better

Everyone loves a good deal, right? Shopping for good value is important, but we also need to focus on quality over quantity. That means focusing on buying better-quality items that will last longer, like reusable bags that fit easily in a purse or your car’s cup holder. When we buy better quality, the items we buy will be more durable and can even be passed along to other families after we are done. This means less waste and less clutter.

Shop locally and cook seasonally

Believe it or not, many kids think food originates in the grocery store. Take your kids on a trip to see farms and meet the people who grow the foods. They may even have a chance to pick their own fruits and vegetables. When we shop for local food, it’s easy to focus on buying what’s currently in season. The bonus is that buying food in season usually saves money, too.

Be a teacher and a learner

Research shows us that kids learn through watching the people around them. It’s important to be role models for our children and live a life we’re proud to show them— including making more earth-friendly choices.

When it comes to habits at home, [one survey showed] parents rank turning off the water when brushing their teeth (44%) and avoiding single-use plastics (32%) as most important when it comes to teaching their kids sustainable practices. But kids wasting their food (45%) and taking long showers (35%) are top sustainability pet peeves for parents.

Not only do our kids learn by watching us, but they can also learn through reading books and watching videos about sustainability. When we learn together with our kids, we can team up to develop a family culture of sustainability that will last long after Earth Month has passed.

Read more:

Activities and events for Earth Day

Bainbridge Home is very green — and kid-friendly

Zero-waste store will help you without making you feel guilty

* A version of this article first appeared in 2021

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