Looking back over the last few months, some of my most popular posts have been those which look at how to reduce waste and expenditure with young children. Today, I thought I would try and bring together a lot of that information.
A point to note: my own children are just that little bit older now – past the nappy stage, past the days of pushchairs and slings – so some of the things I’m suggesting might not be current. I do try my best to keep up to date, but really, this isn’t where we’re at right now so keep that in mind as you read. I’m just a parent, trying my best – not an expert in child-rearing.
In the very early days, things like nappies, milk, clothes, and transport are key. I’ve spoken a little about them here. This is a fairly comprehensive post, but looking back, something I wish I’d had the money/car-space to do is to invest in an extended rear-facing childseat. Some of these will see your child from birth to 25kg which means you’re only buying one seat which spans this entire time. My own have had three seats each. This would have reduced our waste in this area by 2/3. This becomes especially relevant when we consider the fact that second-hand car seats are discouraged for safety reasons. This is definitely one of those cases where buy-well, buy-once applies.
Going back to clothes for a second – whilst charity shops, car-boot sales, repairs, online auctions and schemes like Lost Stock are all great, it’s worth remembering that there are rental schemes (like Bundlee) out there. It’s also worth remembering, that you don’t need to conform to societal norms. Clothes can be passed between genders.
As children get older, they’re increasingly viewed as a potential ‘market’. Toys and books aimed at children are big business. You can reduce your spending here by using your local library and by embracing the loose parts toy movement. There are also toy subscription services like Whirli.
If you’re specifically looking for books which discuss the environment and the natural world, then there are many available for a whole range of ages. One of my favourites is Plants from Pips as this encourages easy, instant action.
If you’re looking at opening a dialogue with older children, a great starting point is this Need vs Want activity – it certainly got me thinking!
A bit of a controversial one, but if you’re looking to spend more time at home as a family, then remote working might be the solution you’re looking for. Not only will this cut out your commute, making it a more environmentally friendly option, but you also win back the time you would have spent in the car. The above link details some of the ways in which we’ve learned to work around children in the 8+ years Husband has been working from home.
When it comes to birthdays and other celebrations, don’t feel as if you need to go completely overboard. I’ve written about Christmas gifts and advent calendars before, but the same theories can be applied to other events. Whether you’re buying used gifts, books about sustainability, or creating gifts from things you already own, there are many, many ways to reject the common consumerism of celebration.
The wonderful thing about children is that if we take the time now to discuss things with them and teach them the reasons we’re making the choices we are, then we’re investing in a better world for the next generation. No time educating a child is wasted (even if it feels like it at times!).