Family

Introducing your children to a healthy lifestyle from a young age is important to make sure they stay healthy throughout life. If you also make sure to introduce them to using environmentally friendly products, then they’ll be more comfortable with those in the long run and will want to use them as adults. Because of this, they’ll be more likely to be healthy adults who help contribute to a healthy planet.

Eat Fresh Fruits and Veggies From Your Backyard Garden

Did you know that about two-thirds of American adults are overweight? Being a healthy weight is incredibly important, as it helps control things like your cholesterol and blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle has a lot to do with the foods that Americans, and particularly American adults, eat. That’s why it’s important to introduce fruits and vegetables to children at an early age. Growing vegetables yourself has a number of benefits. For one, this will lower the cost of shopping each week while teaching your children about food production. Importantly, this will also make your child feel connected to these fruits and vegetables and more likely to eat them!

Purchase Reusable Water Bottles

One of the worst things for the environment are single-use plastic water bottles, which has led to pushbacks against those bottles. In their place, people like to use reusable water bottles that don’t create as much waste. This will also help your children to drink the water that they need to stay healthy on a daily basis, making the use of reusable bottles check two boxes.

Use Sustainable Toiletry Items

Unfortunately, a lot of children don’t take their hygiene seriously enough. Brushing and flossing at a minimum of two times a day is what most dentists recommend, but it’s not what most children do. So, while you’re making sure that your kids take their hygiene seriously, also having them use sustainable toiletries is a great way to make sure that they are being green and healthy. Bamboo toothbrushes and natural toothpaste are good for the environment and healthy for your children to use.

Buy “Green” Camping Materials for a Family Weekend

Going outside and enjoy the outdoors is a great way for children to stay healthy. They get fresh air and exercise out of it while parents get memories that they’ll cherish for a lifetime. This will also give children a better appreciation for the natural world. Just make sure to use green supplies, such as sleeping bags, pillows, and camping backpacks made of recycled materials. Use a family camping trip as an opportunity to teach your kids about being green and appreciating the natural world around them.

Find a Sustainable Toy Set

Finding a sustainable toy set is a great thing to give children that will keep them both physically and mentally active. This will keep them healthy while also giving them joy in their daily lives. This is especially true for children split by divorce, as children spend an average of 277 days a year with their custodial parent. However, this sustainable toy set will let parents in the case of divorce make the most of their time together. A sustainable toy set can be brought back and forth between both houses!

Purchase Sustainable Cleaning Supplies for Your Home

Keeping your home clean is one of the most important steps in keeping everyone within it happy. Killing potentially dangerous bacteria makes everyone physically healthy. Keeping a home clean is also good for everyone’s mental health, as it will help children stay more organized and prepared to handle daily life. By using sustainable supplies to clean the home, you then don’t have to worry about potentially hazardous chemicals hurting your children or the environment.

There are so many ways to keep your children healthy while helping to build an appreciation for the environment. This is just the tip of the iceberg. So, make sure that they have all the resources necessary to fully appreciate both.

There are many ways to instill good recycling habits in your children as they grow and learn about the world. By starting young, you will be sure you’re helping your child be a good steward of the planet. Here are some tips on how to establish household recycling habits with your children.

Introduce and Explain Why Recycling Matters

Introducing your child to recycling can start before your child is in school. You can use simple craft projects using recycled materials to get your child to start recycling in a fun way. Once your child is in school, you will want to make sure your at-home recycling efforts complement what your child is learning at school.

If your child is part of the 10% of all PK-12 students attending private schools, then your child is probably learning quite a bit about recycling. Since not all children can attend private schools, it is important to set up a process for at-home recycling if your local public school doesn’t have a robust recycling program.

Set Up Labeled Recycling Bins In Your Garage

A simple way to keep up your recycling habits and improve as recycling technologies get better and more efficient is to set up recycling bins in your garage. This can be part of a green home project to make your home eco-friendlier. Start when your child is young by color-coding your recycling bins based on the common standards in your community, such as blue for paper, yellow for plastic and cans, black for items to donate, and brown for non-recyclable waste. Once your child is older, you can use the bins to encourage their reading ability by labeling the bins with words as well.

Sort Through Old Items In Your Home Together

An important part of recycling is donating items that are still in good condition but are going unused in your home. As part of your daily clean-up after playtime, you can ask your children if they have any toys they want to donate and have them put their toys into the donation bin. It is not hard to find places that take these donations; in fact, you can add to the 3.5 billion daily Google searches by searching for donation centers in your closest city or town. You can drop off your items at Goodwill or put them in donation boxes located in many grocery store parking lots.

Be Creative and Make It Fun!

You can start by crafting with recycled materials as an early way to get children interested in recycling. You could turn your donation bin into a competition or reward center where, if your child is willing to donate five items in a week, then they get to choose the next plant to go into your garden. When out on a walk with your child, you can make it a game to collect the most recyclables to put in your bins and whoever has the most gets a “Top Recycler” badge or sticker.

Show Your Kids How It’s Done

Kids imitate their parents, so if you are recycling, then they will too! Make sure to rinse out and clean alcohol bottles in private, such as the Bourbon you purchased from Kentucky, which crafts 95% of the world’s supply of the beverage. However, be sure to show your kids how to rinse out, clean, and recycle common household items in the kitchen, such as empty cans and empty juice and milk jugs. By showing your kids how to recycle and making it a common occurrence in your home, you can show your kids that you can have a good time while keeping the environment in mind.

It is important to get your children recycling at a young age so that it becomes part of their daily routine. Starting at an early age allows your child to see it as a normal and expected part of being a responsible citizen.

It’s not always easy to get your children to live a healthy lifestyle. They might be a picky eater, or maybe they just want to keep their eyes glued to a screen. Some days will probably be more successful than other days, but it’s important to keep finding some success in getting your children to live healthily. Here’s how you can set your kids up for a healthy life.

Make exercise a fun activity

Exercise doesn’t have to involve doing any specific workouts. Getting your child to exercise can be as simple as walking outside or kicking a soccer ball in your yard. The important thing is to find something that your child has fun doing. Fishing could be one way you can get your child standing and walking around more. In the United States, there were approximately 11.6 million youth participants in fishing in 2017. Whichever activity you choose to do with your children, after you finish doing the activity, ask them how their bodies feel.

Since doing physical activity can release endorphins, they’re likely to say they feel good. This is a good way to get your children to make a connection early between physical activity and happiness, which will encourage them to do physical activity on a regular basis. Additionally, if you’re planning to make a move some point soon, you’re not alone. On average, American homeowners move every five to seven years. Try to consider moving to a family-friendly area where kids can have plenty of activities to do outside.

Limit cell phone use at night

While your child may really dislike having their phone limited, it’s necessary in order for them to get the sleep they need. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE concluded that tweens and teens who have their phones by their bedside may have more difficulty falling asleep. It’s believed that the blue light that emits from screens can suppress the body’s melatonin levels, which can potentially result in throwing off our circadian rhythms. Not getting enough sleep can potentially raise your child’s risk of getting heart disease later in life.

It’s been found that 4 in 5 older adults will battle at least one chronic ailment such as heart disease, arthritis, or osteoporosis. An even more startling number is that 50% will battle with at least two chronic ailments in their lifetime. Helping your child get at least seven to nine hours of sleep, along with learning to manage stress, will help reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions. Make a rule for your child that bedrooms must be a device-free zone. Have all phones, including your own, left in the kitchen or another room to recharge for the night.

Be patient when exposing them to new foods

When it comes to food preferences, research has shown that kids don’t change their preferences much from ages two to eight. Based on this research, it’s helpful to be patient with children when introducing them to new foods. They may not enjoy eating food like spinach at first, but it doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it if they try it a second or third time. Avoid making your child have to sit at the dinner table until the new food they’re eating is finished.

If you do, your child may associate the food with punishment. A good alternative strategy you can try is allowing your child to not finish the food, but telling them they’ll have to eat it as a snack if they’re hungry later. Additionally, try arranging the food on your child’s plate in a fun pattern. A study found that kids ate twice as much fruit that was placed onto cocktail sticks and then stuck on to a watermelon.

Be healthier as a family

Your child will feel more encouraged to try to live healthier if they see everyone else in the family living healthier too. Set a plan to get your extended family together for a group activity such as volleyball or spending time at the park. After spending time doing an enjoyable activity, have the family together to eat some new food for dinner.

If you can, ask your adult relatives to show excitement about trying the new food in front of your child. Research suggests children are more likely to mimic that behavior if they see an adult do it. It’s even helpful to have your child help cook the meal. A Canadian study found that kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they help their parents cook the meal.

Getting your child to live a healthy lifestyle will be a challenge at times. As frustrated as your child may get with you, remember how much it will help benefit their health in the future. Do your best to always set the example of living healthy, and be consistently encouraging to your child when they make good health choices.

Countless experts and studies assert that, whenever possible, “breast is best” for both parent and child. It can boost infant immunity and may even reduce their risk of serious disease later in life. It’s also a practice that can strengthen the bond between mothers and their offspring. One recent study even found that breastfeeding may reduce a mother’s risk of heart disease for up to 10 years after she’s stopped nursing her child. But despite all of the benefits, including environmental ones, a new report released by the World Health Organization and the United Nation’s Children’s Fund found that literally no country on earth supports breastfeeding mothers in the way that WHO guidelines recommend.

Breast milk is the easiest substance for babies to digest and can provide a much-needed boost to an infant’s health. According to Dr. Mariel Poortenga of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, breastfeeding can help promote healthy weight management and prevent bacterial infections, respiratory tract infections, bowel and urinary tract infections, allergies, ear infections, diabetes, childhood obesity, cancer, and more. And according to the American Dental Association, breastfeeding may result in straighter teeth and reduce the risk of bottle tooth decay. Considering the fact that children with poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school due to dental pain, many moms choose to do whatever they can to set their kids up for success.

Breastfeeding is also lauded as an extremely environmentally friendly option. Poortenga told a Michigan Fox News affiliate that families who want to go green will be happy to know that breastfeeding their child will reduce the need for unnecessary energy use (unless bottled, it does not need to be heated up in a microwave) and packaging (natural sources don’t add to air pollution or waste). In addition, the risk of milk contamination is essentially nonexistent, which promotes better health for the entire family.

But while breastfeeding is undeniably advantageous for both parent and baby, a newly released report has revealed that there is not a single country in the world that actually follows the World Health Organization’s recommendations for breastfeeding — and the U.S. is trailing far, far behind.

WHO and UNICEF recommend that new mothers breastfeed their babies within the first hour after birth and exclusively for the first six months. They should then continue breastfeeding and add in other foods until the child turns two. But all across the world, fewer than 44% of new moms report that they breastfeed their newborns within that first hour and only 23 countries say that 60% or more of their mothers exclusively breastfeed for six months or longer. Some of those 23 countries include Kenya, Bolivia, Malawi, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Zambia.

Most disturbing of all, the U.S. was on the receiving end of “several red lights” and “failing grades” in the report, according to Laurence Grummer-Strawn, technical officer with the World Health Organization. Breastfeeding rates of American mothers were much lower than average: fewer than 25% of moms say they breastfeed exclusively during those first six months. Other studies have found that only 26.8% of respondents expressed breastmilk five to fifteen times per week in 2015. And only 18% of hospitals support breastfeeding practices recommended by WHO.

Part of the reason for the discrepancy may be that the U.S. offers no paid maternity leave. When new moms are forced to go back to work, it becomes much more difficult to breastfeed their children over long periods of time. Sadly, only 12% of countries worldwide meet the International Labor Organization’s recommendations pertaining to 18-week paid maternity leave.

The report calls for an increase in breastfeeding investment, which could have a huge impact on lower-income countries.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in the report, “Breastfeeding is one of the most effective — and cost effective — investments nations can make in the health of their youngest members and the future health of their economies and societies. By failing to invest in breastfeeding, we are failing mothers and their babies—and paying a double price: in lost lives and in lost opportunity.”

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Heatwaves may be annoying, but if you’re not careful they can march right into dangerous territory! In fact, according to 2015 data from the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the most dangerous place to be during a heatwave is in a permanent residence with little or no air conditioning. A total of 15 heat-related deaths were recorded in just such settings during 2015.

And if you live with infants or aging loved ones, these heatwaves are especially risky.

High temperatures are hard on growing children, who may spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer months. Heat-related illnesses, skin conditions, and other issues can easily affect them if the proper precautions aren’t taken. During this time it’s important to relax. You can sit in your favourite beach chair (Selected Best has great reviews if you don’t have one yet).

At the same time, it’s important to find sustainable solutions to the issue of heat. While running your AC unit all day might seem like the best option, it’s not always the smartest one. If you’re looking for effective, sustainable ways for you and your family to beat the heat without running your AC into the ground, here are a few great green cooling ideas you can try this summer.

  • Plant Trees
    Approximately 64% of homeowners are already upgrading their backyards, and if you’re one of them you should consider planting a tree or two. When properly placed, trees can provide much-needed shade and actually keep your home cooler and out of the direct sun.
  • Close the Blinds
    Did you know that when completely closed, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by an estimated 45% in your home? That’s right! A simple task can help you use less energy and keep your home a bit cooler.
  • Schedule AC Maintenance
    The most efficient AC units are inspected at least twice annually. If you are relying on your home air conditioning, it’s important that you take preventative maintenance steps to keep it running smoothly. If your HVAC appliances are more than 15 years old, they were designed before energy efficient appliances become standard.
  • Hydrate
    According to pediatric sports medicine expert Dr. Troy Smurawa, pre-hydrating and frequent hydration are key to summer safety. “When [kids] exercise outside, one of the key things that we recognize is to make sure that they are taking frequent water breaks. We usually recommend every 15 to 20 minutes.”
  • Avoid Mid-Day Outdoor Activities
    If you’re looking at extreme temperatures for summer, it’s important that you get outside early in the morning or later in the evening. Health care professionals typically recommend avoiding time outside between 10 AM and 3 PM, as it’s when temperatures tend to rise into dangerous territory.

But above all else, it’s important to know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke when you see them. Here are some important signs of each medical condition:
Heat Stroke

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Loss of Consciousness

Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Exhaustion or muscle weakness

If you notice any of these symptoms, whether in yourself or someone else, you should contact emergency services and take immediate action to remove the victim from any extreme heat.

It may not seem like sustainability and safety have anything in common, but the truth is that taking these preventative measures in your home and in your daily life during the summer months can make for a safer and more sustainable season. So before you burn out your AC while trying to cool your home, consider these green cooling alternatives!

The school year is winding down — and in some cases already over — the weather is heating up, and the kids are eager for some much-needed time outdoors. Every parent can relate to this sense of excitement that builds during May. Lucky for us, Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. One of the most popular travel weekends of the year, these festive days offer the perfect opportunity for a family camping trip.

Many travel writers and experts have found that family travel has spiked in recent years, with more parents planning getaways together. In fact, about 70% of family travelers were planning to take one or two vacations in 2017, according to a recent AAA survey. Camping is a great mini vacation for the adventurous family, offering healthy bonding experiences and activities for all ages.

Considering packing up your tent and tarps and heading to the great outdoors with the kids? Follow these simple tips for a happier, smoother camping experience.

  1. Involve your kids in the planning. Make your children feel important by asking for their help during the planning process. Let them tell you about any food they want to make, games they want to try, or places they want to go. Not only will your trip benefit from all the input, but you will also be able to bond before the family camping trip even starts.
  2. Practice in the backyard. Sleeping in a tent for the first time can be scary, especially for little kids. Try sleeping in your tent in the backyard for the night to let your kids learn what to expect. Don’t have a backyard? Ask a friend if you can use theirs, or mimic the outdoors by pitching your tent and rolling out some sleeping bags in the living room. See more here.
  3. Teach your little ones basic camping safety. Be sure to tell your kids how to behave around the campfire, what to do if they see an animal, and other aspects of camping safety. Plan a meeting spot if anyone gets separated, and consider carrying walkie-talkies with you at all times.
  4. Plan activities ahead of time. Nothing is worse than running out of ideas to entertain a bored and cranky child. To avoid this mini crisis, come prepared with crafts, sports equipment, and instructions for outdoor games. There are plenty of creative camping activity ideas around the internet, so be sure to do research beforehand.
  5. Connect with other families. If you have family friends with kids, consider inviting them to come along on your camping trip. Your own children will be thrilled to have friends to play with, and you will have adults to spend time with as well. Even if you choose to camp without other families, you will likely meet other families camping nearby when your kids meet friends while running around the campground.

Childhood camping is one of the most memorable experiences, often turning a child into a lifelong camper and outdoor enthusiast. Studies show that of current campers, 85% took their first trip between birth and age 15. Not only that, but 57% of campers were avid outdoor activity participants as children, while only a quarter of non-campers spent time outdoors as kids.

By exposing your children to the outdoors now, you will teach them to love nature. This enthusiasm will lead to healthy recreational habits in the future, for both your child and the entire family. So pack your tent and have a blast this Memorial Day weekend. Your little ones will thank you!

Disclosure: I received product to facilitate this review and compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. As usual, all opinions below are completely my own.

When I was pregnant with my now 3-year-old, I already knew that I would be very careful about the personal care products I use for her. This meant that for everything from baby soap and lotion to hair products, I would be choosing organic and natural alternatives that minimized her contact with toxic chemicals as much as possible. Even when washing her baby clothes, I knew I needed to choose laundry products carefully.

With my older daughter who is now 11, I used Dreft laundry detergent. I received several bottles at my baby shower and I loved it so much that I kept buying it. So I admit that I was a bit disappointed when I had Juliza that Dreft wouldn’t be an option, as I was trying to avoid traditional products.

The great news? Dreft finally has a product for parents like me who want more natural alternatives to the products we otherwise love.

Dreft purtouch is a new baby detergent that is 65% plant-based, hypoallergenic and made
with naturally-derived ingredients, designed specifically to be gentle on your baby’s delicate skin. It is free of dyes, chlorine, phosphates, ethanolamine and optical brighteners, and still designed to effectively remove up to 99% of baby stains. Even better, it is safe in septic tanks and the recyclable bottle is also made from 25% or more post-consumer recycled plastic.

I was excited when I was asked me to try Dreft purtouch, as I remember my great experience with the original product and couldn’t wait to see if this would compare.

The simple answer is that I love it.

I have to admit that I like my laundry detergent to smell good. I know it’s not necessarily for my clothes to get clean, but it is a psychological boost that makes using the product that much more enjoyable. Fragrance can literally make or break a product for me. Dreft purtouch has a fragrance that feels light and gentle — nothing too heavy or overpowering for you or your baby. And though the scent lingers after washing and drying, it is really subtle.

There’s also the matter of whether it did a good job of washing my daughter’s clothes. At 3 years old, she’s in the mess stage of toddlerhood. Eating a cup of yogurt means it will end up trailed down the front of her shirt, and learning to drink from a cup without a cover leads to sticky messes that force us to separate “play” clothes from the rest of her wardrobe. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a couple of stains that had been very visible were considerably lighter after washing with Dreft purtouch.

I wish I had gotten a “before” shot, but just know that the barely visible stain shown below was much more pronounced before washing — and it wasn’t a new stain either.

I also appreciated that my daughter’s clothes came out of the wash process noticeably softer than they did with our previous natural detergent. We never use liquid laundry detergent, and even with dryer sheets, her clothes would still feel a bit “rougher” than I would like. Dreft purtouch delivered touchable softness, especially helpful now that my little one is (finally) potty trained and wearing underwear that needs to be comfortable.

I am really pleased with this product, and I have every intention of continuing to use it throughout Juliza’s toddlerhood. I can feel confident that when she’s spinning and twirling in her beautiful clothes, that there is no residue that is harmful for her and her skin.

And I now know what to get for anyone I know who is having a baby.

I also wanted to share a video that had an impact on how I think about baby clothes. Dreft recently completed a survey that revealed 9 out of 10 dermatologists recommend washing baby clothes before the first wear, as excess dyes and chemicals from the manufacturing process, along with dirt from storage, transport and handling, can stay on the clothes. Need a visual? Check out this video that drives it home:

Yeah. I promise I won’t forget the thought of some kid kicking around a sweet little onesie that a baby will wear. Just something to think about.

Giveaway Time!

Would you like to try it for yourself? I thought you might. Enter below to win a bottle of Dreft purtouch.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Preparing for a family vacation with the kids can feel like a real job, what with all the planning you have to do to make it happen, and all the excitement in the household in anticipation of your get-away from work and school. It can be a stressful period, and many decisions must be made to make sure everybody is happy during the trip. That includes making travel plans, reserving accommodations, and most importantly, choosing a destination everyone will agree on (and yes, that can even include your cat or dog!). Here are some some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your family vacation if you do bring your animals.

Pre-Planning

This may seem obvious, but it is important to take care of your finances and pay any due bills before the trip. You don’t want to miss a due date while you’re having fun, only to come home and find an important service has been turned off.  Also, decide on a fixed (or flexible) budget for your vacation so that you won’t have to max out your credit cards, and do your best to stick to it. Finally, make sure that there are plenty of activities for you and your kids to enjoy at your chosen destination. This is where a good calendar and to-do-list come in handy.

Location, Location, Location!

The first step is deciding how far from home you want to travel. If you want to visit a new country, airline ticket prices become a primary consideration and may affect your overall travel/holiday budget, especially depending on the season. Check online for any current travel deals and packages or family discounts well before your expected departure date so you can save big and make room to enjoy some extra luxuries. Search for airline discount codes, as a good one can save you a big chunk of money. There are also great deals that include flight/hotel discounts for families or groups.

Planning at least a month ahead of your trip is always a good idea so that any money you save on flights can benefit you and the whole family in countries where the cost of living is lower. For example, you prefer booking a trip to Italy with experts on Italy. But you can also rent an apartment or vacation home there directly from the locals at budget-friendly prices rather than staying in an expensive, touristy hotel.

If you choose to travel closer to home, the planning is a bit easier. You can choose your destination based on the length of your vacation, how much you want to spend on gas and the cost of accomodations.

Finding the Right Attractions

If you stay in the U.S., traveling cross-country is one of the coolest experiences, and there are plenty of open spaces to visit. From the Grand Canyon to the Red Woods of the San Francisco Bay Area and the many nature and adventure parks, you will find there is plenty to do for both parents and kids. Once you have chosen your destination, the next step is figuring out which places you want to visit and what activities there are to do. This is where some great online resources like Musement come in. They will help you discover the best spots, including hidden gems not frequented by the usual tourist crowds, as well as provide you with a great choice of local attractions and tours. Their filters will also help you find activities suitable for the whole family, so that mom and dad can have fun too. There are also many free activities available, so you really don’t need to break the bank to have a good time.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Now that you know where you’re going, the next question is what to pack for your vacation. If you’re a parent, you already know what to do: Start with the kids. Figure out how many pairs of underwear, swimsuits, and clothes they’ll need. And while packing their favorite toy is a must, the entire toy box can stay at home. Making a list first will help avoid panic packing. You can find plenty of tips and ideas on packing online. Check if there are laundry services available at the hotel, or a washer and dryer if you’re staying in a home or apartment, and take a look at the weather forecast so you can be sure to dress comfortably.

Trains, Planes & Automobiles

If you’re planning to rent a car, think about what type of vehicle will best suit your trip. If you’re flying to another state and you’ll only need a car for occasional trips from point A to point B, any vehicle with enough seating for the whole family will do. If you’re taking a road trip or need to do a lot of driving when you reach your destination, comfort is essential. A good, sturdy but comfy SUV or minivan would be a better choice. Remember that kids — especially young children — need to be entertained while traveling, and a great way is to fill their time with books, toys, gadgets and game apps. This is true whether you are traveling by car, plane, or train. Everyone will have more fun if you don’t have to constantly listen to the kids complaining about being bored.

The Most Important Tip

Have fun! This is supposed to be a vacation — not a problem that causes more stress. Don’t panic if plans don’t go exactly as you’d hoped. Just enjoy the time with your family and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Also check: Costa Rica Domestic Flights From $45 – Aerobell Airlines.