Before I had my children, I vaguely knew I had an effect on the environment, but it was something that lingered in the back of my mind. Becoming a parent for the first time, suddenly these thoughts were hurled to the forefront of my mind. Almost overnight, I became ultra aware of the effect my every movement has on our planet. I realised that if I was going to bring children into the world, then I needed to take greater responsibility for my actions and be more conscious of the decisions I make. With this in mind, I’ve joined the #brightFuture Challenge all about the Unilever brightFuture initiative and the hopes we have for our children.
The Unilever brightFuture initiative aims to unite communities and encourage small changes in everyday life, to have a positive impact on our world. I'm part of the 83% of parents who felt that the birth of their first child made them want to improve their life for the better, and by making small changes "together we can make the world a better place."
I'm not a saint by anyone's standard, but to me it is about doing the best I can, and setting a good example that I hope my children will follow. Here are just a few of the things we try to do as a family to help make the future better:
• I encourage my children to play and explore outside as much as they want to. It doesn't matter if they get dirty; a healthy appetite for adventure and exploration is more important and, as Persil say, dirt is the mark of adventure. And when they do get messy, I wash their clothes at lower temperatures using the eco wash cycle on my washing machine to reduce the amount of electricity and water used.
• As a family, we reuse and recycle as much as possible. We're lucky in north Herts as our council has a fantastic recycling scheme and almost everything can be recycled. We don't put everything straight in the recycling bin though, we see if we can reuse things first. For example, cardboard boxes are taken to Ian's work to reuse in their shipments, jars and pots are saved for crafts and storage, and Little N's nursery are always after things to use in their projects and activities. The children now know what goes in the bin and what goes in the recycling without me having to tell them!
• I encourage my children to believe in themselves and try to give them the confidence that I have always lacked. I try to be mindful of the language I use when speaking to, or around, my children to ensure that it instills confidence and positivity in them. Did you know that the Dove Self-Esteem Project has worked closely with psychologists and experts to create materials that have had a positive impact on 19 million young lives?
• As well as trying to raise confident, happy children, I want them to have access to as many opportunities in life as possible, so that whatever their dreams are they get the chance to follow them. Persil has backed a global initiative ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the world’s toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education. I know I am guilty of taking our education system for granted, often forgetting that it is a privilege that many children around the world don't get. Just imagine what a child could become when the door to opportunities is opened to them!
Did becoming a parent change the way you live?
This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever