4 Ways to Teach Kids How to Recycle

The other day I was able to convince my three-year-old to sit down and watch Blue Planet II with me on Netflix. He has a deep love for the ocean (like his mama), but he LOVES to watch Boss Baby, Hercules, and Coco on a loop. It was a grand achievement to get him to watch something outside of his core selection. As we progressed through the episodes, we came to an image of a sea turtle caught inside a pile of trash in the middle of the ocean. As David Attenborough dictated the life and hardships of this turtle, I saw an intense look of worry spread across my child’s face. He could not quite understand why this sea turtle was having to struggle. I had to explain to him that some people do not care for the sea turtles like we do and that others pollute the ocean, impacting all creatures living underneath the surface.

To say he was disappointed in the litterbugs of the world was an understatement. We continued to watch Blue Planet II when suddenly I was smacked across the face with one thought – I have yet to teach my son about recycling.

At this point in the story, I welcome your judgement, because I am ashamed of my actions. I started a Be Green club in high school for heaven’s sake; my son should know how to recycle.

It is never too early to teach our children how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We have taken a few actions within our household to implement environmentally conscious behaviors that even our one-year-old engages in. Here are the four ways you can introduce recycling to kids.

  1. Recycling container – We have introduced a recycling bin within the house to collect all recyclable objects. We would typically pile them up and take them out to the main bin on the side of the house, but by simply purchasing a storage container, the boys are excited to recycle. They almost fight to see who can put the recyclable in the bin first. WWE championship of recycling.
  2. Get creative – What’s the saying? “Someone else’s trash is another man’s treasure.” With an egg carton, toilet paper roll, and tabs from a can of soda you now have a lively robot, shark, or man-eating dinosaur. Making a creative moment out of recyclables makes learning just a little more fun.
  3. YouTube videos – There is nothing like some screen time to make my kids stop in their tracks. While there are some awesome TV episodes that focus on recycling, there are so many options on YouTube as well. The SciShow Kids channel on YouTube not only has fun and educational videos on a variety of topics, there is a great episode all about “How Recycling Works!” Jessi and her robot Squeaks are great at paving the way for my kids to make smarter decisions when it comes to waste and recycling.
  4. Matching games – My three-year-old is currently obsessed with matching games. Matching like recyclable items, such as aluminum cans, cardboard, plastic bottles, etc. teaches him what can and cannot be recycled. Finding the big green recycling symbol is the “special” match, so he’s always on the hunt!

Since we started this adventure to keep Mother Earth happy and healthy, my kids (at least my preschooler) is a little more conscious about his actions. Before he throws anything away, he asks, “can we recycle this mommy?” It doesn’t matter if you believe in global warming or not, we have a responsibility to take care of this planet. It is vitally important we teach our kids the importance of caring for the earth, so that it is a safe and wonderful place to live in for years and years to come.

How do you reduce, reuse, and recycle in your house? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Preschool Plague

Every parent who has ever put their child in preschool or daycare knows all to well, what I like to call, the preschool plague. You know, when your child’s nose streams fluorescent green snot, their eye-lids are crusty from the obscene amount of congestion building up inside, and they have this incessant need to croupy cough right into your face.

Each member of my family has contracted about ever pediatric illness known to man and a few that I believe have been dormant for years, since my son has reentered preschool. It’s as if we have all touched the snot encrusted teddy bears, trucks, and blocks that are around the classroom. No amount of hand washing, hand sanitizing, or Lysol can save you from this pandemic.

My poor son within the last month and half has had a sinus infection, cold/congestion, and ear infection. We get over one hurdle to be introduced to the next. During this time, I have tested numerous vapor rubs, nasal aspirators, and fever reducers. Here are my thoughts and what I feel is the best bang for your buck and sanity as a parent.

Vapor Rub: Now I’ve been known to use vapor rub personally when I haven’t needed it, because there is nothing like taking a deep and clear inhale through the nose. With my little one’s cold and congestion I have tested a number of infant/toddler friendly rubs.

Maty’s All Natural Petroleum and Menthol Free Baby Chest Rub was a staple when he was very small, and I have every plan on using it with boy babe number two, but I needed something a little stronger this time around. I will say, this natural remedy does not leave a sticky residue and holds a mild scent, but does the trick for the tiny ones.

Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Soothing Chest Rub is the perfect rub for those kids who are between a mild and severe cold. The eucalyptus, lavender, and beeswax chest rub has the perfect amount of fragrance and its application is clean and mess free. At the earlier stages of illness, this rub is ideal!

Vick’s Baby Rub Soothing Ointment is my vapor rub champion. When the preschool plague took full effect, I needed the strongest stuff I could find. With a twist of the cap, my son’s nasal passages immediately open up. When we snuggle before bedtime, I catch a whiff and my nose opens up too. Can one have a deep love for a chest ointment? If so, I’m madly in love!

*Another tip when it comes to vapor rubs, I put a little bit on both of his feet with socks. Does it do anything? I’m not sure, but it provides my son with needed comfort when it’s time for bed.

Nasal Aspirators: There is no question when it comes to nasal aspirators, always go with the Nose Frida. It is the perfect way to suck all of those boogers right out of their nose. As the website states, “it’s totally safe (for parents AND baby).” If the Swedes created it, it must be great, right!? I pair my Nose Frida with a few sprays in each nostril of Little Remedies Sterile Saline Mist. This power packed spray helps “moisturize and flush out mucus to clean little noses.” This combination works so well, that my kid comes up to me and asks for me to clean out his nose. If your two-year-old is asking for his nasal aspirator and saline mist, it must be GREAT!

*Another tip when it comes to saline mist, alternate mists from one nostril to the next.

The Tried and True: When it comes to the fevers and pain of ear and sinus infections, alternating between Infants Tylenol and Children’s Motrin, under a doctor’s supervision and designated dosage, is a must. My sons on an antibiotic as well as these pain and fever reducers, and we have seen a complete change in his mood and behavior.

*Remember, always refer to your pediatrician before administering these drugs. Your doctors will know and understand the appropriate dosage for your little one.

For all the parents out there who send their children to preschool, I send you my positive thoughts, surgical face mask, and Tide to Go Sticks for the snot crust you’ve accumulated on your shirt sleeve from your little one. You may find that these products provide you and your child some much needed comfort. God speed!