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How to Raise a Green Toddler

By Larraine Roulston:

First, kudos to the La Leche League and its volunteers who inspire women to nurse their babies. Their efforts marked an important turning point for mothers to return to nourishing their infants naturally.

Secondly, a more recent natural “movement” called Elimination Communication promotes the EC method that not only involves the intimate connection between parents and toddlers, but also increases a child’s confidence and self esteem. Read more… to discover how to engage with your little one and recognize the cues to “go potty.” By wearing cloth diapers on outings, for example, both babies and toddlers will hold their pee and poo until you get them home or near a public washroom within a reasonable timeframe. This also strengthens bladder muscles at an earlier age. As diaper-free babies use 50-75% fewer diapers than nonEC infants, you will be reducing diaper waste, in both washing and trashing disposables. When accidents happen, use a damp cloth rather than purchasing chemical baby wipes. My wonderful daughter-in-law and son made the extra effort to train their two daughters in this fashion, and I can personally state that this approach was very effective for both children. I wish that I had been aware of the diaper-free option when raising my toddlers; however, they all enjoyed helping to fold diapers.

Share toys with friends. When purchasing, choose durable toys made from fabric or wood, or those that contain recycled plastic.

Utilize your budding artist’s own coloring designs to decorate their bedroom. Save corks, cylinders, egg cartons, and other easy to handle items for art creations.

Have fun digging into a bag of hand-me-down clothes. Give your toddler a chance to select them as well. When you need to shop for toddler items, try thrift and consignment stores first. This habit may ease the strain on your wallet when it comes time to purchase more expensive merchandise when they become teenagers.

Too often, when toddlers pick up things from unsavory locations, parents will say, “Go put it in the garbage”. Instead, get into the habit of saying, “recycling bin” or “composter.”

Together, engage in yoga either by yourselves or in a group.

When you have the option, choose to walk, to use a stroller or wagon, or to employ a bike’s baby seat rather than drive. When I once was asked to take a neighbor’s daughter to her nearby daycare, the child exclaimed, “Gee, I didn’t know you could walk here!”  Get youngsters used to knowing their neighborhood on foot. For an adventure, expose them to public transportation.

Seize the opportunity to have outdoor picnics. Use regular dishes, metal cutlery, and cloth napkins. Refrain from including straws.

Whether you live in an apartment or have yard space, toddlers love to plant and water seeds. By gardening, a child is more apt to eat the vegetables that they helped to grow.

Utilize your public library. As you choose a book with an environmental theme, allow toddlers to pick a selection of their own. Control and monitor television and video viewing.

To lessen carbon emissions, avoid using a dryer. Toddlers love to hand up clothes pegs, or to catch the clothes when they are taken down.

Last, “monkey see, monkey do.” Unless you use child safe nontoxic nail polish, I recommend going a “step” further by refraining from using nail polish yourself during this period.

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Larraine writes illustrated children’s adventure books on composting and pollinating.  Visit www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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