Growing Them Green: You and Your Children Growing Them Green: You and Your Children

Growing Them Green: You and Your Children

Whether you're a mom-to-be, dad-to-be, or already a parent of a little one or two, you know that there are a lot of things that could be friendlier to children. As a parent it's your job to look out for your little ones, but the world itself doesn't seem to be much help when there are chemicals even in our healthy foods. So if you're thinking about having kids, or if you already have them, going green is a great way to make the world a better place as a whole, and for the most important people in the world—your children.

One on the Way

If you're expecting, you should expect to take extra steps to go green since it's not just you you're caring for anymore. Everything you come in contact with-from chemicals and foods to chemicals used on foods-could affect your baby. When you're pregnant, going green and thinking about the environment is logical since you want the world to be kind to your newborn.

The first thing to remember when you're looking to go green and you're pregnant is that as an expecting mom you don't want to put any extra stress on yourself. If these are your first steps towards going green, then perhaps you should consider only the things that could most affect your baby, instead of changing everything all at once. Healthier living is the goal of going green and not additional stress, which can be difficult enough to manage when pregnant.

You can start making good eco-friendly choices when you're a mom-to-be (or even a dad-to-be helping the mom-to-be!) by thinking about your daily routine. What products do you use? Is there is anything in those products that might be harmful to your little one? From the site FitPregnancy.com, take a look at this list of biomutagens found in everyday items: http://www.fitpregnancy.com/goinggreen/gg_article/1002.
Avoid using the products on this list whenever possible. Although not all experts are convinced these products are toxic, isn't it worth avoiding these things for a while so your child is healthy for a lifetime?

Your diet will change as you move through your pregnancy. If your doctor already has you following a new diet then stick with that—but look for organic choices when you can. Fruits and vegetables usually contain many pesticides. Yogurts, milk, cheese, and other beef products could contain hormones used to add bulk to cows. Plenty of organic options exist, and they're not much more expensive than store brand products, so go organic when you can.

Crawlers, Toddlers, Walkers, and More

Going green is a great way to stay active in your children's lives. As they grow and change, their needs do too, but they always need you to help them learn to make healthy choices.

Little snacks for little fingers are important to have on hand, but protect those little ones by shopping around for organic foods. Apples and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, celery and cream cheese—delicious combinations, but better when you know they're safe and toxin-free.

Playthings, as we're learning the hard way recently with recall after recall, aren't as safe as we might hope. What you can do, though, is keep your littlest ones—the ones who are most likely to put toys in their mouths—with the most natural toys to keep them safe. Teddy bears made of organic cotton or bamboo material and toys without paint or lacquer are some natural choices for toys. Avoid toys that use batteries for the littlest ones—batteries create significant waste, and they're also toxic when a baby to puts it in his/her mouth.

When you buy new toys for any of your children, regardless of their age, consider looking for ones that use recyclable, paper packaging (not Styrofoam or packing peanuts). Also think about how long that toy is going to last—the longer it lasts, the more likely it is to be passed on for another child to love (what a great way to recycle!). With that in mind, consider wooden toys over plastic ones. They last longer, can take rougher handling, and are safer in general. Toys are tough to check for chemicals since contents of things like paint and plastic aren't ordinarily listed on the packaging, but try to avoid toys made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastics.

Child's Play

Going green before you have children or as you raise them is the best way to encourage them to take charge of their environment and to show them that everything they do impacts the world. Making choices to go green might be against the "norm" now, but the more people that do it, and teach their children to do it, the better our world will be.

Karissa J. Kilgore loves to write and has a passion for the Oxford comma. She has her BA in English, and hopes to teach writing one day. Karissa lives in Pennsylvania with her dog Trixie.

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