Simple, frugal and eco living with children

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Simple, frugal and eco living with childrenMany people think that simple, frugal and especially eco-friendly living with children is an impossibility, as kids cost so much money in what they need.

But what do they really need? The greatest, the most important, need a child has is love and care and that should come free. Other things are, sort of, optional extras. And once again, without apology though, I have to warn people that some of my suggestions may be seen as controversial.

Clothes: As few as necessary, and those should, ideally, be secondhand, otherwise let them go naked, at home, and such, where this is possible, especially the boys that haven't reached puberty as yet (or bare bottom, if it is a little too cold). This is a common practice in many countries and cultures, especially in China and Asia, for the boys particularly, and it seems to benefit them no end physically and mentally.

But I don't want skid marks on the furniture, such as armchairs and sofa, you say. Well then either have them use the dog shelf or wash their behinds after they have done their ablutions, as it is done in China and India. Also better for their behinds than toilet paper.

Why not go the whole hog, so to speak, and start the practice of family nudism, at least at home. It also saves on adult clothes. Family nudism equals true minimalism as far as clothes – especially for the kids – are concerned and is good for Planet and wallet.

I have yet to encounter any boy, at least of prepubescent age, who does not take to more or less permanent nudity like a duck to water. You might be hard pressed to get and keep clothes on him even when required.

Underpants: None for the boys. Underpants are now – finally – even by and especially the medical profession considered as extremely bad for the male.

Swimming trunks (costume): If and where possible let them play in the water and swim bare.

Shoes: some, otherwise barefoot and that – even – outdoors as much as possible.

As I said, I can be very controversial.

Sodas: No. not at all, not even as a “treat”. Have them drink tap water instead, as well as milk and fruit juices (unsweetened). And maybe, also, tea and other infusions (herbal teas).

Toys: Some good quality ones – maybe wooden ones – building blocks and others, toys that do not use batteries, and also and especially teach them how to make their own toys and entertainment. It is amazing what entertainment kids can get from some sticks and stones and other things that cost nothing.

Create games (and toys) with them that use and are made from waste materials. There are some Chinese games that could use, for instance, plastic bottle tops as game pieces (counters). I shall be featuring them in the near future after I have created some example by way of reuse and upcycling. So, maybe, look out for that article for some ideas.

Then there are the outdoor games such as Tipcat, which in Pakistan is called Gulli-Danda (elsewhere it goes under different names but is the same) and where it is played a little like cricket with teams. Very easy to make and lots of fun. Tipcat can also be played alone and is still great fun.

When we were children a carved tipcat was always in the pocket to play the game as, generally, a suitable stick was always to be be found and, as we always carried a pocketknife, cut to size. However, a special one could be made and used instead.

Get wood offcuts from a lumberyard, or such, and make your own version of Lincoln Logs, for instance, or just simply wooden building blocks. The kids will have more fun with them than with commercially made ones, that's for sure, and you save money, and save stuff from going to the landfill.

Pizzas & other takeouts: Don't. Cook good wholesome food at home and involve the kids in the cooking activities, at the same time teaching them to cook. There are enough recipes to be found online that copy takeouts and which, as you have done them yourself, are by far healthier as you know what has gone into them and where and how they were prepared and cooked.

Fakeouts are so much better and are easily made at home and can be better than the real thing without going to the expense even of getting all the right ingredients. Chinese takeout foods such as Chow Mein, for instance, which, by the way, is not a dish actually found in China but which was invented and created in the Chinese diaspora and is very popular also among the diaspora Chinese. Same as the pizza is not Italian at all. You do not need soba noodles, for instance, for Chow Mein, and pizza can be made much better at home with homemade dough and your own choice of toppings.

Those are but a few ideas here as to simple, frugal and “green” living with children and they can add to some real savings in the financial as well as the environmental footprint department.

© 2018