Green Parenting: Raising little ones to be eco-friendly

An eco-friendly lifestyle can be tough to maintain. It requires a lot of research, time and diligence. For those that have embraced this lifestyle, you have experienced first-hand the challenges and triumphs. At the end of the day, this lifestyle is about taking into consideration our entire existence and how it impacts the environment.

Becoming a parent is no easy feat either! Moms and dads are faced with decisions every day that affect the well being of their child. From what food to eat to what baby care products to use and what toys are safe. Some parents have adopted an eco-friendly or “green” parenting style.

Bambo Nature ambassador, Kayla Petering from This Little Wandering, shares how her family has embraced an eco-friendly parenting style for their little Bambo Baby, Jessamyn.

What inspired you to take on an eco-friendly parenting style?
To be honest I am not sure if we were necessarily inspired to be green parents so much as it was the obvious response to the lifestyle we were living before we had a child. I have always tried to live an earth conscious life and just feel like for my own health it is better to live green and choose organic products and so obviously that carried over in every way in the birth of our daughter and the way we raise her. If anything I am more careful with her and make sure that from birth every product we use is safe for her and also for the environment. 

 Is this different from how you were raised or is this parenting style something that has been passed down?
Growing up we ate a lot of fast-food, didn't recycle, and weren’t necessarily conscious of green living. This is not to say my parents didn't do a great job and now they are probably greener than I am but at the time they were raising us it just wasn't common practice and as accessible as it is now. 

 In what ways do you incorporate eco-friendly practices into raising Jessamyn?
In addition to using Bambo Nature diapers, we try to be eco-friendly in the products we choose. I will only buy organic or natural baby care products and have even made my own from time to time. Clothing and toy wise, we definitely try to be aware of fair trade products and I try to choose items with a back story and a cause. We also really try not to buy things just for the sake of shopping. Jessamyn has toys and lots of clothes but unless she needs something I won't necessarily make a purchase just to do it and am trying to raise her minimally and without a huge need for things. We are currently moving into a school bus converted into a tiny home and so even though doing that we are trying to raise her to appreciate experiences and life outside and to really just appreciate nature and the earth. 

 Do you make your own baby food?
We did make our own baby food! I actually used our blender and would cook large quantities of fruits and vegetables and then freeze them and thaw whenever we needed them! Jessamyn transitioned really quickly to just eating whatever we ate and so honestly that phase didn't last very long but it was really fun to have some control over what went into her baby food and some of it tasted really good! 

Do you plan to teach Jessamyn how to recycle?
Yes! Though I have to confess I am not always good about recycling myself but we do try and if I can figure out how, might even teach her about composting on the bus! 

Do you spend a lot of time outdoors with Jessamyn? Do you feel it is important to teach children the value of nature in our lives?
Yes! We are actually in the process of moving into a tiny home on wheels so we can travel more and experience life on the go! My husband and I really value experiences and life outdoors and want to be able to share that with Jessamyn. We are often outside hiking and exploring and really want Jessamyn to feel comfortable in nature. Our goal with the school bus is to be able to travel, live well within our means, and experience new things together with Jessamyn. 

 Any other “green” lifestyle habits that you want to teach your child?
This is a tough question and honestly I think more so than being "green" we want to teach Jessamyn how to appreciate the earth and the resources we have. What this means for us is not wasting resources, being mindful of others around us and the earth, and appreciating where we are at. I really want Jessamyn to grow up with an understanding of living within her means and taking advantage of the resources around her well. What that looks like right now is little things, like being mindful ourselves of the resources we use and how we use them. Teaching her to reuse food and not waste leftovers. Being wise with our budget and living within our means, and with life in the bus, making wise choices like having a composting toilet, using solar power, and being mindful of our water waste and energy usage. For me it also means helping teach her to check the ingredients in things and using safe products and being aware of practices that are harmful such as not wearing sunscreen outside, or even being aware of the potentially harmful chemicals in products. Mostly I just want to teach her to live simply and live well with what we have. 

What advice would you like to share with parents who are interested in eco-friendly parenting?
I think the most important thing with green living is finding what works for you. I honestly would NEVER consider myself an expert on living green, but I would say we do what we can and our constantly learning. There are so many areas of childhood where people judge and this shouldn't be one of them! Find what works for you and go with it, don't be afraid to learn and make mistakes, and know that whether you are a green living expert or completely new where you are at is okay and a great place to start. 

Is eco-friendly parenting for you and your family? Have you found ways to teach your little ones to appreciate nature and protect the environment? Share with us in the comments below!

Don’t forget to follow @this.little.wandering to learn more about eco-friendly parenting!

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