More Love Less Waste Guide #4 – Living Sustainably with Kids

Welcome back to the More Love Less Waste blog series where we share simple sustainability tips that we love and hope make it easier for parents to make small changes to help the planet. This is our fourth entry, so if you’ve missed any and want to read from the start, then click here.

We’ve already explored how to kickstart your journey into a sustainable lifestyle, with advice on how to rethink your spending habits to become more eco-friendly. But it’s one thing to make your own habits more sustainable, it’s a whole different challenge when trying to get others in your household to do so too (especially with kids!). 

In our last article we talked about eco-friendly products that can help you during pregnancy and the early weeks with your baby (click here for more on that). As they get older things get a bit trickier, but don’t worry, we’ve got you. This week we’re delving into what you can do as your little one grows up and how you can teach them to love the planet. So let’s delve into the world of living sustainably with kids.

Living sustainably as they grow into toddlers

As your baby turns into a toddler, they’ll start engaging more with the world – like little scientists!

That’s where toys come in. They provide toddlers the chance to play, explore, and experiment.

Unfortunately, toys are also one of the least sustainable aspects of having kids! Around 80% of them end up in landfills, incinerators, or the ocean, while 90 percent are made of plastic and are used for just six months on average. Try to find non-plastic options if possible (see the appendix for some first-rate brands). Living sustainably with kids is often just about using more eco-friendly materials.

Wooden toys can be a great sustainable alternative for young kids.

Want to transform their bedroom as they get older? Well, before you do, make sure you check out our advice on:

  1. Designing a sustainable toddler or child’s bedroom and 
  2. Boys nursery and bedroom styles for 2022 

Top tip:

Most items that you need to keep your toddler safe and entertained can be rented through Y’earn. Search the marketplace for a Bundle that includes a highchair, stair gate, bouncers walker, toy box, and so much more! The appendix contains a full list of items available. 

For older kids

All parents will tell you the same thing:

Kids grow up fast!

And (aside from making it important to treasure every moment with them, of course) this can have significant implications for the environment! For example, they go through clothing and footwear faster than you can say “Look how big you’re getting!”

They may outgrow an item, making it somehow superfluous, but it’ll still be in perfect condition! What do you do? Many mums and dads keep them in storage until they have another child. Yet just as many throw them out!

Staying sustainable when your kids are constantly outgrowing their clothes can be difficult, but there are ways!

Thankfully, there are lots of brands that use eco-friendly materials that reduce the impact in these situations. We also love rental services such as thelittleloop, plus Dotte which is a dedicated place to buy and sell kids clothing. If you’re interested, here’s a list of 2021’s best sustainable brands and options for kids clothing. Oh, and check out this blog post on the best cold and wet weather gear.

It’s not just casual clothes that could benefit from a sustainable approach either. Going back to school can be sustainable too! Here are some top tips to get ready for an eco-friendly return to school, plus our complete guide to sustainable school uniforms.

As you can see, our blog covers a variety of topics including ways to furnish nurseries, bedrooms and playrooms. Want to be the first to read them whenever we hit publish? Join our FB Group or newsletter and never miss another blog post again! They’re full of insights and advice, such as how to decorate a tween girl’s bedroom.

Education and inspiring children 

At Y’earn, we believe the best way to help people make better choices is by giving them information.

And this goes for kids too! Leading by example is the most powerful way to inspire change in others, so even small actions can help children learn eco-friendly habits.

Getting out in nature is a great way to ignite a passion for protecting it. Most children love forests, parks, the beach, and so on. Don’t just take our word for it though! A recent national survey conducted by the UK government found that 83% of children feel much happier when they’re in nature.

Another survey of 2,000 parents and their children found that a whopping 94% of kids want to learn more at school about looking after the environment. And 90% see being an inventor who helps combat climate change as a dream job.

Unfortunately, 75% of teachers feel they lack adequate training to educate students about climate change. So, the responsibility falls on us to help educate our children about living a more sustainable life.

As a parent, try to encourage and nourish their natural love for the outdoors so they can understand the importance of living a more eco-friendly life.

Feeling the pressure? Don’t worry!

Here’s a reassuring insight from the same government survey we referenced above:

82% of youngsters say they’d like to do more to protect the environment. How beautiful is that? Clearly, your children may need zero convincing to live a greener, more sustainable life at home. If you can follow the insights in this guide to show them the way, then they’ll surely follow. 

For more info on this topic, check out our blog on how to talk to and inspire children. We also share tips and activities for children each week in our More Love, Less Waste FB Group. 

Summary 

Here’s a little overview of what you can do with your kids to live more sustainably.

Key points

  • Living sustainably with kids is very possible, everything you need for your child has an eco-friendlier alternative.
  • It’s possible for kids’ rooms to look great and be climate-friendly – you’ve just got to be creative! 
  • Kids outgrow their wardrobe so quickly that often, what you buy them barely gets used. To reduce waste, try renting what they need but if this option doesn’t suit you, make sure you pass things on to others. 

Tips

  • If you’re buying something new, narrow your search to environmentally responsible brands.
  • Show your children that climate-friendly living can be fun by getting them involved in awareness campaigns.

Okay take a deep breath…  so far in this series we’ve covered a lot about what you can do to be living sustainably during busy periods of life. But you might be wondering what other products have more eco-friendly alternatives? Well we’ve got you covered. In our next article we’ll let you know what you can do around your home to make long-lasting changes toward sustainable living (so be sure not to miss it). 

If you love what we’re trying to do, please spread the word and help us to grow as a community. Invite people to our More Love, Less Waste Facebook Group, share our podcast, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, or become an Ambassador for our marketplace and earn rewards. 

P.S. Join our newsletter and get the series straight to your inbox, plus info about our eco-friendly giveaways. Or, if you’re like us and a little impatient, you can download the series as an E-Guide.

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Y'earn Baby & Kids

Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people and small businesses in your community or make some cash if you have items you don't need right now. We plant 🌲 and adopt 🐝, plus give to children’s charities.

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