The morning routine. Everyone has one, including your kids. But because we're often half-asleep when trudging through our start-of-the-day activities, we may not be as mindful as we should be about what exactly we're doing. This can mean missed opportunities to be healthier and more eco-friendly.
But now that you're fully awake, take a moment to think about the steps that your kids take in getting ready each morning. What can be improved for the good of the planet and their health? Here are five simple steps to get you started.
1. Use organic toothpaste
Brushing your teeth is the first step in just about everyone's morning routine. This includes kids, who are oftentimes just learning the importance of this crucial daily task. But traditional toothpastes can be laden with harsh chemicals, as well as unnecessary flavors and dyes. Their packaging is usually made from plastic as well, which isn't great for the environment.
If you're looking for an improvement, try organic toothpastes from Jack N' Jill. They are available in a variety of kid-friendly flavors! Or simply make your own toothpaste. It's surprisingly simple to do. Many recipes, such as this one, can be found online.
2. Give your child's washcloth a second look
After brushing their teeth, your child likely wipes their face with their personal washcloth. It may seem like an inconsequential piece of cloth, but washcloths can hold bacteria and germs, especially if they're made from certain commonly-used materials.
Kid's washcloths are often brightly colored, and dyed with chemicals that health-conscious parents wouldn't approve of. And not all washcloths are biodegradable, even though they easily could be! If you'd like to find an upgrade to your child's washcloth, check out these organic cloths from Oasis.
3. Choose natural soap
After picking up their washcloth, kids will obviously use it for its intended purpose. They'll squirt on some soap and wash their face, and possibly their hands at the same time. But what ingredients are in the soap they're using? Traditional soaps are often heavily artificially scented at the expense of skin health, meaning that they can dry out kid's faces, leading to irritation.
To avoid this problem, have your child use natural soap. One brand, called "Everyone Soap," comes in a variety of fun scents perfect for kids and is made from all natural ingredients.
4. Cut sugar and add protein at breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which makes it the most important part of kid's morning routines. The quick convenience of sugary, brightly-colored cereals can lead even some health-conscious parents astray. But fear not! There are other fast and easy breakfast options that aren't packed with unhealthy ingredients.
Low fat yogurt with pre-mixed organic granola (such as the many varieties from Bear Naked) is delicious and packed with protein. Sliced fruit can also be added to yogurt for a change of pace. Natural, lower-sugar cereals, such as Barbara's Puffin Cereal, are great replacements for their over-sweetened counterparts.
5. Incorporate exercise into your morning
It may seem like a pipe dream, but getting kids to exercise can be as easy as adding a step to their morning routine. And you can participate, too! After breakfast, just before they are getting ready to walk out the door, lead them in a few simple stretches. This will get their blood flowing, improve their posture and wakefulness for the journey to school, and help them digest their food without growing too tired. For ideas on what sort of stretches to do with your child, check out this simple list of kid-friendly yoga stretches.