Earth Families

Super nanny, Kassia Aksenov, shares a few life hacks for reducing your family’s environmental impact.

Being sustainable has it challenges, and what is even more challenging is being sustainable after having children. I must confess that I am not a mum, but I have worked as a nanny for over seven years and picked up some good habits from my super-mummy friends.

Food prep and meal time

If you have the garden space, growing your own veggies and herbs is a great idea. Kids love being outdoors so getting out there for a day in the garden is loads of fun. When preparing meals many mums recommend cooking in bulk and freezing portions for days ahead when you just can’t muster up the energy to cook. Storing meals in freezable one-portion sized containers comes in handy for lunches on-the-go and saves you buying over-packaged baby food with far less nutritional value.

When eating at home keep a cloth for baby near the sink to wipe their face when they’ve finished rather than grabbing wipes or tissues. If you have more than one child I recommend colour coding your cloths for each child which helps reduce germs spreading when one child gets ill. Instead of grabbing paper towelling to mop up spills use old tea towels or terry towelling. These produce no waste and don’t take up much room in the washing machine.

Nappies and wipes

The benefits of using reusable nappies was mentioned in the previous edition of Ciao. As a nanny, I am aware of the extra washing and work that comes with resuables and advise families that they don’t have to choose one or the other. When a friend of mine had her second baby she used disposables while out and reusables when at home. A green alternative to wipes can be as simple as cutting up an old T-shirt and turning it into rags or using the thin baby face-washers that are sold at Kmart. These are gentle on baby’s skin and can be reused.

Clothes, toys and activities

Shopping for secondhand clothes and toys or accepting hand-me-downs means items get more use before hitting the dump. Another tip is to look for toys that have various uses or stages and can be enjoyed by kids at different ages. Wooden blocks, for example, help babies develop their fine motor skills and can be used in more complex imaginative play when kids grow older.

Using toy libraries saves on clutter in the home and lets your kids rotate items on a regular basis, keeping them stimulated. Glebe Library has a toy library facility. Flyers and pamphlets that come in the mail are great arts and craft tools and saves you buying brand new supplies.

Talk to your kids

Making your kids environmentally conscious from a young age helps build their understanding of waste avoidance. You want your kids to opt for less waste producing practices on their own accord, so explain to them why sustainable choices are important.

Words: Kassia Aksenov