Friday, 8 February 2013

Communication is Key

Recently my oldest daughter, who is in grade three, came home from school with an assignment to explain and promote an environmentally friendly practice that she does. I don't usually get involved with her homework unless she asks me to help her or check over her work (I tried once and I now understand why my mother did not like to help me either). This time, however, I decided to step in because she had decided to make her poster about recycling. I explained to her that there are so many things that we do in our family for the environment and that I was pretty sure that everyone in her class would make a poster about recycling.

We talked about this blog and why I started it, which is basically her poster project on the internet. She knows that I write this blog and has read it over my shoulder a few times, but I don't think it has registered with her all that much.

I talked about some of the things that I'm proud of that I accomplished last year and I let her read my "highlight reel" post. I could see the light going on for her when she made the connection between the things we do day to day and how it is good for the environment. But the fact that she was unaware of all the things we do surprised me.

It made me realize that because my daughters are getting older I need to communicate with them more about what we do as a family and why we do it. It isn't enough to just do it. I need to involve my children so that they come to understand what we value, and hopefully value it themselves.

On top of the things we read about in my highlight reel post, I reminded her of the following:

  • We turn the heat down and wear hoodies, sweaters and socks when we are cold (ok, that's just me, no one else in my home seems to get cold like I do).

  • We had an energy assessment shortly after moving here (almost 3 years ago) to find ways to increase the energy efficiency of our house.

  • Even though we are now a two car family, our second car, the one my husband uses for work, is a hybrid vehicle, and we use that one as much as we can when we don't need to take all five of us out.

  • We now have a vegetable garden and are trying to grow our own food when we can.

  • We are trying to make our own food from scratch as much as possible to not only reduce packaging from the stores but also to reduce preservatives and less healthy ingredients and increase the amount of whole foods in our diet.

  • We try to reduce our garbage to less than one full bin each week by recycling as much as we can and by trying to buy items with little or no packaging. I think we can do much better on this one.

  • We compost all our organic food waste, either through our backyard compost bin for garden scraps and uncooked food waste or a weekly municipal pick up (table scraps, cooked waste, meat waste).

It is the last item on this list that got her creative juices flowing for her school project. She decided that she would take a picture of all the composting things we have and do and put them on her poster with captions. She was very proud of her project and I was pleased to find out that most of the kids in her class did posters about recycling - she was the only one who did compositing. 

Her poster included our kitchen counter composting containers (we need two because they fill up so quickly around here), the green bins we put out each week and the backyard compost container filled with beautiful new soil for our garden this coming spring.

So I am going to share my thinking aloud more with my girls and be more vocal about our family choices. Once again I am reminded about how important communication is when parenting.


  1. I love this on so many levels! It's amazing the impact we can have on our children's learning when we start explaining things to them. They understand a lot more than we give them credit for (or maybe I just assume my kids won't understand things they actually do!).

    1. It is hard to make the transition in our brains from seeing our children as extensions of ourselves because of their dependence on us to thinking, independent little people. I try to remember this, but every so often things like this happen to make me realize that I need to make another shift and give them more credit.

  2. I need to read more about your composting efforts -- still looking for a method easy enough for me that I can stick with it! I am impressed with all that you are doing.

    1. I've been pondering and mulling over a compost post. Must get on that.

      Thanks for visiting!