Kids have a way of bring joyful chaos into the home. There’s clutter, dirt, and other memory-making essentials scattered everywhere, and while pandemonium may ensue, you can still take some simple steps to make sure that your children’s environment is a healthy and ultimately happy place to play.
– Breathe Deep –
We need three things in order to thrive: good food, pure water, and clean air. The first two are a given, but indoor air quality doesn’t get as much attention as it should. With building codes as strict as they are, our homes are closed tight against outside elements, including fresh air. This is great for energy bills, but it also means that our homes don’t breathe and chemicals can linger.
So open the windows, turn on fans, and let a breeze air out the house. To take it even further, avoid using harsh cleaning agents. Vinegar, baking soda, and microfiber offer all the sparkle and none of the toxins. Run an air purifier to wipe out allergens and dust. Also, avoid using air fresheners or lighting scented candles. If you refuse to give up candles, use those of the beeswax or soy variety.
– Radon? What’s That? –
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive chemical element that has no color, taste, or odor. It’s been linked to incidences of lung cancer and reduces the air quality in most buildings. To test for radon, you can hire a licensed tester or order a test kit. High levels of radon can be reduced by sealing openings in the foundation of your home and having a mitigation system installed.
– Essential Oils –
What do you smell when you go outdoors? Pine? Lavender? Rosemary? All of these are natural elements and what you’re breathing in are pure essential oils. There are dozens of living scents you can bring into your home, and each one offers healing qualities for your family’s overall wellbeing. Low-quality oils may be chemically modified, defeating the purpose of using them in the first place.
– Promote a Healthy Emotional Environment –
We know that good nutrition, adequate sleep, and exercise are important for our family’s physical health, but what about emotional health? With children, stress-management is easier imagined than done, but it’s important to practice these skills not only for your own mental health but for your children’s. Communication, patience, and understanding will not only reduce stress and conflict but will create a stronger bond between you and your kids.
– Make It Fun –
Whether you’re a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom, when you’re home with your kids for hours on end, the day can get a little monotonous. Being cooped up can build frustration and anxiety, so make home a place of creativity and fun. Have a dance party. Build a fort. Bake some cookies. Get involved and be spontaneous. With all that activity, your kids are bound to get some exercise, stretch their brains, and fall asleep pretty quickly when bedtime comes.
– Keep Your Cooking Clean –
Clean cooking isn’t just in regards to using healthy and unprocessed ingredients in your meals. It is also related to the utensils, pots, pans, and Tupperware you use. Non-stick cookware sounds good in theory, but can be toxic when overheated. Try cast-iron or ceramic cookware if you can. Also, plastic containers can be dangerous, especially if they are used in the microwave. Switch to glass; it's more durable anyway.
– Use “Green” Insecticides and Pesticides –
When it comes to exterminating bugs or pesky critters, the best route is natural or organic products. The toxicity level is high for pests but much lower for your family. In fact, there are quite a few options that are harmless for people and animals.
What about bug repellent? That probably falls under this category as well. If you must use DEET, try not to let it come into contact with skin; only spray your clothes. If you can, use a repellent that uses ingredients like lemongrass or eucalyptus. You'll smell better and still avoid bug bites!
Healthy environments are created by removing harmful components and replacing them with elements that promote wellbeing. Whether it's a chemical ingredient, junk food, or stress, all can be removed or managed by making small changes and being informed.