Raising Eco-Warriors: Easy Swaps Towards a Greener Future

As we are becoming more aware about climate change and the environmental impact our own carbon footprint is having on the natural world around us, it’s become increasingly crucial to raise our children to be environmentally conscious.

It’s about fostering a love for nature and encouraging them to take small, everyday actions that contribute towards a greener future. Promoting environmental awareness and preserving nature for future generations to enjoy.

We play an important role, the key to this is leading my example. Children are like sponges; they soak up so much information from what they see. When they see their parents making a positive impact on environmental issues, it will encourage our little ones to make a real difference too.

If you’re looking for easy swaps and practical tips to sustainable living, here are some I have used myself, and some will probably save you a bit of money too.

Water Bottles

You’ve heard it before and I’m going to say it again, take a reusable water bottle everywhere you go. Many places have refill stations. If you’re wondering where your local refill stations are, the Refill website is a great place to start. This will greatly reduce your plastic use, especially single-use plastics.

Connect with nature

Take them out on regular walks to spark their love for nature. It could be park visits, nature hikes, or explore your local forest. Kids love to get muddy, let them. Why not encourage them to take part in a nature scavenger hunt? A great tip I used for my daughter, I let her paint the fence with water! It will keep them occupied while you’re pottering around in the garden. They’re still outside in the fresh air!

Save money with second-hand

When they are babies, they need a lot of stuff, but they only need certain items for a short period of time. I saved so much money buying things second-hand. I friend of mine no longer needed her Mamas and Papas travel system, which cost us £250, if we had bought it brand new, it would have set us back £650. I bought a collapsible walker, bottle warmer, baby gates, a wooden changing tray (with draw), bottle steriliser, and toys second-hand. All were a fraction of the cost and saved me a lot of money. The fashion industry emits a vast amount of carbon emissions and
greenhouse gases, so buying second-hand clothes will help to reduce the number of new garments produced.

Baby Monitor life hack

Baby monitors are expensive but most new parents couldn’t imagine not getting one. Just to have that peace of mind that you can keep an eye on them, especially when they are asleep is so important. A great little hack I found out about, after my daughter was too old for monitors, was you can use your old mobile phone as a baby monitor! There are apps available which can be downloaded on multiple devices, so you can keep an eye on your baby while they are asleep. This will save you so much money and, I’m guessing we all have old mobile phones sitting in a drawer gathering dust.

Try reusable nappies

Nappies are not only expensive but they are also a menace to the environment. They will sit on landfill for years to come. Many parents are opting for reusable ones to help reduce their plastic waste and save some money too. You can even get reusable swim nappies, which are a real game changer if your little one loves being in the water.

Use the library

If you’re lucky enough to still have a library near you, borrow books instead of buying brand new ones. You’re borrowing a product that already exists and reduces the need to purchase another book. Libraries have a large collection of books for children of all ages. Audio books are also a great way to get little ones engaged in stories. You never know, it might help them to sleep. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!


Friends and family can be incredibly generous when it comes to giving our little one’s gifts, this is how a lot of people show their love. But you may find that your child has been gifted something they already have. We had this a few times. I put the item to one side and gifted it to someone else. It will also save you money, and it means you won’t have to go out and buy something new. This is a great step to being conscious consumers.

Toy Swapping

The number of toys children will go through is shocking. Most of them will be sold in plastic packaging, and a large portion of toys are made from plastic that cannot be recycled. Swapping toys is a great way for the item to have a new lease of life. Not only that, but it also won’t clutter up your home and your child will have a ‘new’ toy to play with. My friend’s daughter no longer played with her Happyland toys, my daughter spent hours playing with it, she loved it so much. It also saved us a fortune and because we didn’t need to buy new, this will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, if your child has a toy that makes way too much noise, put clear tape on the speaker! It will still make a noise but not as loud and won’t drive you crazy!

Washing clothes

It’s no secret that washing clothes and reusable nappies will add up, especially when they are young. Try to ensure you wash full loads, rather than many separate smaller loads. Also, if you can, avoid tumble drying and dry the clothes on the line. A little tip I was given was ‘if the ground is dry, the clothes will dry’. It works for me!

Big boxes

Kids don’t really need loads of shiny new toys. We had to buy something which came in a big box. She played with it for days; playing hide and seek and colouring the sides. It sparks their imagination and creativity, and I was able to do what I needed to do. Plus, the cat was happy that this little person, who makes way too much noise, was leaving him alone!

Eating leftovers

It’s OK to eat leftovers, as long as they have been stored properly. This will reduce your food waste and you won’t have the hassle of having to make something else. You’re already using what you have, which means less waste. We like zero waste, and this is a great tip. Not only that, but it will also help with energy conservation, the energy you use to warm up leftovers will be a lot less than the energy you will use to make something from scratch. Plus, sometimes, we just don’t have the energy do make something new!

Old socks

Now this is a weird one but hear me out. If you’ve got old socks that you can no longer repair, rather than throwing them away, cut off the ‘foot’ part and put them on your baby as leg warmers. When babies start crawling, hard floors can be unforgiving on their little knees, these ‘leg warmers’ will help cushion their knees and allow them to crawl around without scraping them. Plus, you’re repurposing something you no longer need. Small changes make a difference.

I hope these tips help you to create a more sustainable life and work towards a better future. As parents, we need to lead by example, in our daily lives, and give our little ones the tools and knowledge for environmental stewardship.

No one is saying eco-friendly living is perfect, there is no such thing as perfect, it all depends on your own personal circumstances. When it comes to making sustainable choices and trying to adopt sustainable practices, I always say ‘start small, do what you can, build from there’.

We need to work to create a more sustainable future. After all, ‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children’ – Anonymous.

This has been written by Raakhee Stratton, a UK based eco-blogger and author of Easy Peasy Greeny. Currently studying towards a BSc Environmental Science and passionate about working towards sustainable living by learning and sharing ideas.

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