Keeping Balance with a Natural Life

by Rita Brhel on December 18, 2009

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For many AP families, green living, natural parenting, and life learning are more than a fad – they represent a lifestyle that endures even when mainstream society doesn’t find “going green” to be so popular. Like Attachment Parenting, the benefit of natural living is best achieved when practiced consistently.

Where does this fit into Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting? For those families who choose to live naturally – certainly not a requirement, mind you – they find it helps them particularly keep with the Eighth Principle, that of striving for personal and family balance. You feel better about yourself when you know your impact on the earth and the people around you is a positive one.

Natural Life magazine is a great resource for AP families looking at a lifestyle that is supportive of their childrearing choices. Some of the articles you can read are about going solar, organic food, gardening, relocating with a green attitude, and learning for the sake of knowledge. In the March/April 2009 issue of Natural Life, I read an interesting article about raising eco-conscious kids. Author Alison Bayne gave these tips for parents:

  • Start early in teaching their children that toys can come without packaging and clothes can come without tags (second-hand items)
  • Opt to shop for clothes and toys at charity shops rather than department stores
  • Purchase new gifts through your favorite nonprofit, such as the API Store
  • Shop online or small, independent stores
  • Trade clothes with their friends
  • Box up some of your toys at home, store them, and rotate the boxes every few months so the kids don’t get tired of playing with the same toys
  • Boxes plus imagination and some crayons create a whole new play area
  • Decorate the kids’ bedrooms with a collage of birthday cards and photographs, colorful wrapping paper, or their own artwork
  • Involve your child in green chores, such as recycling and reusing items
  • Minimize car use by going bicycling with a child seat or a trailer, going for a walk, or using a stroller for longer treks or with heavy loads
  • Go on a nature safari in your backyard
  • Start a garden and give your children their own plots
  • Visit a farm
  • Buy your food from local growers, and eliminate processed foods
  • Limit television commercials; opt for videos or public television instead
  • Avoid buying plastic items
  • Avoid buying name-brand goods
  • Black out logos on items, or give them an original look
  • Live the way you want your child to live – if you want your child to make eco-conscious decisions, then first do it yourself.

Most of these ideas are easy to put into practice, and many of us will readily admit we already do much of this…and probably have some to add to the list. And others will say that they rather like the convenience that plastic items afford, or that they’re rather partial to mac’n cheese from a box. Being attached doesn’t mean you have to live naturally, but we certainly encourage it if you find it helps your family maintain or enhance that attachment bond between you and your children. AP makes natural parenting and green living rather easy, as Attachment Parenting already puts us into a unique mindset where we’re thinking independently of mainstream society – making decisions based on what we feel is best for ourselves and our families without the influence of biased corporate marketing campaigns. And if you’re looking for some good reading material, you might want to check out Natural Life magazine.

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Rita Brhel (131 Posts)

Rita Brhel, CLC, API Leader, is the Publications Coordinator for Attachment Parenting International. She also works as a WIC Breastfeeding Counselor at Hastings, Nebraska, USA, and is a freelance agricultural journalist. She lives with her husband and 3 children on a sustainable family farm. She enjoys crocheting, listening to music, photography, reading biographies, being with nature, volunteering with 4-H, and singing at church.

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