In my last article, I talked about getting healthy and getting toxins out of your house. A lot of the discussions did relate to things our children interacted with, but this post is going to dig a bit deeper. I want to focus here on things directly related to our children.
As mentioned before, even I am working to implement some of these changes in my life and its important to remember to not try to change everything all at once. Unless you want to overwhelm and frustrate yourself. Take your time and implement them as you choose and when you are able. Also, not all of these tips are going to work for every family.
You may ask what this has to do with going green and you’d be surprised. This is just one of the many things I’ve been trying to add to my life. I’ve read many blogs and books where the parents keep a journal of sleeping and eating habits or anything else of interest concerning your child such as vaccination dates and illness. Now, some of these families go into too much detail, but I can see how such a diary would be beneficial in determining potential allergies or to track changes in behavior and potential causes or changes in the environment. So far, I’m not sure my own diary would be of much help, but like anything with parenting, it is a work in process.
I have already promised myself that I won’t take away any of Freya’s toys that fit this next section, but I have sworn that i will be more careful in choosing her toys in the future. I had never thought about all the chemicals that go into toys. Nor had I really thought about how low standards are for toy production in other countries such as China (whose products may contain lead). I cannot afford anything fancy, but I am crafty.
I can make toys and barter services with others who do the same. I know that not everyone can do this, so my best advice is to watch what products you buy and to try to learn about the production practices of other countries to avoid to worst of the worst. There are also a lot of toys or activities out there that are very simple to make. You can check out my Pinterest board for many ideas of activities and toys you can make on your own.
You may also want to consider quality over quantity. I too ran to the store and often found tons of toys that I just had to get for Freya, but honestly, she only plays with five or six of her favorites and touches the others on the rare occasion. Half of the time she’d much rather play with a bowl in the kitchen or a piece of fabric I left lying around on the floor. Kids can find fun in just about anything and that’s something to encourage.
There are a few other benefits to this philosophy. First, you will be teaching your child not to give into the materialist culture of the modern world. Second, if you aren’t buying tons of toys, you will be able to buy a few toys that are more expensive and of a higher quality. Third, your child will find things in their own environment to play with. They might even use their imagination….an ability that seems to be dying out in modern children who are given everything or babysat by the television. Right now the only reason Freya has as many toys as she does is because I have gifted her with some of my childhood favorites that I kept. Finally, a quality made toy will last for generations in comparison to most of the toys on the market today.
As a final note, watch out for toys that contain the following contaminates: Lead, PVC, phthalate, and in wood products look out for toxic finishes. All of these contaminates have been linked to disease. I just wish I had know about this before I actually bought some of the stuff we have. All I can do now is work to replace the ones she absolutely adores.
Bath & Bed Time
Bath time is a time old tradition in most families. Children love to play in the water and parents love clean children. However, I doubt that many people know that the FDA does not require safety testing on cosmetics before they are sold to the public. So read labels carefully to make sure they do not contain harmful chemicals. There are also many natural alternatives out there on the web, but once again, be wary unless you can find tons of reviews showing they are safe. The final option is to look up recipies to make your own. You can find a few examples of this on Wellness Mama’s Blog.
Tips on bath time products: Use 100 percent natural whenever possible. Get unscented, dye free products as often scents may be produced with chemicals, not natural. Avoid petroleum based products when possible. And look into alternatives to fluoride toothpaste as recent research has caused scientist to question the benefits of fluoride in the public water. Recent research indicates that it might be bot ineffective and harmful. See the Fouride Action Network for more information. Personally, we use baking soda in the morning and toothpaste at night and avoid public water when possible.
Some other tips from Going Green include the following tips. I intend to try some of them.
1. brush the skin gently before bathing. It stimulates teh circulation and opens the pores to help eliminate toxins.
2. Sea salt baths and apple cider vinegar baths are supposed to be great ways to detoxify in the bath and are supposedly relaxing. I’m going to have to try this one. Apple Cider Vinegar is like my favorite cleaning and general purpose product in our home.
3. Ventilate bathrooms well. There is chloride in our public water and it is technically a toxin. I could understand how it would also be toxic to breathe in as steam.
4. They recommend baby massage or reiki as a mode of relaxation after bath time and before bed. Reiki is another one of those things I would love to learn and use in my life.
Teethers are great, but I would go for natural ones if you can afford them. Better yet, Amber beads. I actually need to get Freya a new one now since we’ve lost them. We put them under her socks around her ankle. If I can find them again. She’s just now old enough that I can let her wear them for a few hours at a time during the day. We noticed a big difference when she did wear them. Just remember to take them off during sleepy times to avoid the choking hazard. Alos, you don’t have to worry about them breaking each bead is individually tied to the string. Still, I would look for teething solutions that do not involve plastic wherever possible.
There is a lot to cloth diapering and I plan to tackle that in another post entirely. However, I am going to touch on a couple of basics here. First. cloth diapering is more work, but saves you tons of money in the long run. When we were doing disposables we bought a pack of diapers that would last for two weeks and would, by the end of the month, end up costing us over 120 dollars. We’ve invested around 250 dollars into our collection (100 was my attempt at making them myself to make money….suffice it to say I failed at crafting in that endeavor). With the sprayer we are still trying to finish and the wet bags I made it may be closer to 300 dollars. We;ve been cloth diapering since about three or four months and we have saved at least 100 dollars per month using cloth diapers.
We rinse ours and then wash them with vinegar and non toxic detergent. We air dry them and eventually, I plan to be able to dry them outside when it’s sunny. I do diapers every other day and I have thirty of them. If you can do cloth diapers I suggest it. Even dealing with the poopie ones isn’t that bad. We just rinse them out into the toilet (you can even buy a sprayer if you have a home that isn’t a mobile home) and then wash them. We are also about to start using cloth wipes. I found the solution on Printerest and my test run with it went well. If you can’t keep up with that washing schedule there are organic disposables, but they are more expensive.
And my favorite thing about cloth diapers? I rarely have to deal with diaper rash. When we do, it’s usually light and easily remedied. Just remember to rinse out your diapers if you use cream with them.