Natural Parenting

Mommy Greenest Eco Rules

teenaged boy wearing jeans with bare feet up on couchRemember that house, back in high school? It wasn’t your house, but you felt comfortable enough to put your feet up on the furniture. It wasn’t your mom, but you talked to her sometimes about what was going on in your life. Sometimes an afternoon turned into dinner turned into movie night with the family. You knew where they kept the cereal, and got your own bowl.

That’s my house.

It could be because my kids are well-liked and well-adjusted—or it could be that we’re a three-block walk from the mall. But most afternoons, the doorbell rings and a gaggle of teenagers troops in. By evening, there are boys playing guitar in my son’s room, and girls practicing dance routines in my daughter’s. My little one runs between, pestering both.

It does get loud, but I love having a full house. What I don’t love, however, is how with other kids around my own forget the eco rules I’ve taught them. I try to keep my reminders light, but at the end of the day I’m nagging—both my own and somebody else’s kids. These are my eco rule pet peeves! I love having a full house. What I don’t love is how with other kids around my own forget the eco rules I’ve taught them. Take your shoes off! The simple act of leaving shoes at the door can reduce 85% of pesticides, insecticides and toxic chemicals like lead from getting into your home—not to mention dirt. Unfortunately, teenaged boys aren’t much concerned with cleanliness.

Lose the perfume! My daughter’s friends literally DOUSE themselves in synthetic fragrances, which give me headaches when I walk into her room. And no wonder: Studies have shown phthalates in synthetic perfumes cause allergic reactions, as well as reproductive problems and hormone disruption—plus they’ve been linked to obesity. Maybe that little factoid will make them think twice?

Open the windows! Studies have shown that the air inside our homes is more polluted than outside, primarily because of off-gassing furniture and toxic chemical household cleaners. We don’t have any of those, but it sure does get stinky when the house is full and the windows are closed. See above: Do kids lose their sense of smell when they hit the double digits?

Recycle! Eight out of 10 bottles aren’t recycled in this country, but in my house, we’re shooting for 100% success—even if I have to dig through the bin to achieve it.

They don’t seem to remember, but I keep trying. How do you talk to kids—and their friends—about playing by your eco rules? Advice, please!

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