Once you start having children, it’s quite common to reevaluate your lifestyle choices with the lens of “what’s best for my child?”
Often times, this includes changing over the products used in the household to all-natural, organic, or non-toxic.
Making good choices for our children is a central tenet at the Waldorf Academy, which boasts many programs for parents and toddlers in Toronto.
What Is A “Natural” Product?
The most important thing we can convey to you in this article is that “natural” products may not be as natural as you think – “natural” is merely a marketing term, is used indiscriminately, and has no oversight or certification.
On the other hand, “Certified Organic” is a label that you can trust, as it is regulated by trusted and certified bodies that have been researched and approved by our Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
They will carry a logo that states “Canada Organic,” and you can be assured that any manufacturer has had to pass rigorous tests and benchmarks in order to qualify.
However, “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.
Remember, organic junk food is still junk food!
5 Tips For Switching To Natural Products
To help you to move your family to a more natural household, we thought we would put together a short list of things to consider, and to help you accomplish it a little less painfully.
1. Replace One Product At A Time
Change is tough for anyone, and kids need to be able to depend on things to feel safe and secure.
While their favourite ketchup brand may seem like an unlikely target for childhood angst for you, having it suddenly replaced might be upsetting for your child.
Replace one item at a time, and only when your usual brand runs out – this will make for a more, ahem, natural process, and it will stagger the cost for you, as well.
Don’t forget to be willing to hear their feedback – if the new item you’ve bought does not go over well, offer to let them choose something new once the current bottle is empty (and direct them to the organic aisle when it’s that time).
2. Test Drive A Product Before Committing
While a giant bulk container might be tempting from a cost perspective, all you’ll do is waste your money if your children don’t end up liking it.
There are a lot of refill stores popping up, many of which ONLY carry organic or natural products, and these are will often let you fill up a small, clean container with a sample to test at home, before committing to a full-size container.
Otherwise, start with the smallest amount you can find.
3. Get Familiar With Ingredients
Many ingredient labels today require a chemistry degree to decipher, and that should be a hint to you that your products are more artificial than natural.
If you can’t recognize half the ingredients, it’s time to question if it’s natural enough for your family.
Luckily, resources-on-the-go exist to help you determine toxicity levels, such as the app ThinkDirty, the website PurPicks, and the Environmental Working Group.
4. Join A Community Of Like-Minded People
Some of the best knowledge is passed along by word of mouth – most neighbourhoods or cities have online communities where parents share best practices and helpful hints.
There are many blogs you can follow that will give regular updates on products and research, and this is especially true if you can find an organic brand that you trust, as many have helpful resources on their websites.
5. Consider The Environmental Impact Too
Just as you want to be sure to only put natural, organic products in (or on) your child, you also want your kids to live in a clean and healthy environment, right?
Part of that is recognizing that too much packaging on a product is also part of the problem, and is often an indicator that a company or brand doesn’t have your health at heart.
This is exactly part of the reason why so many people are embracing the ‘mason jar life’ – because they are fantastically reusable containers that can be refilled in one of many no-waste stores that are opening around the country and world.
Contact Waldorf Academy
At the Waldorf Academy, we encourage the children in our care to consider the wellbeing of the entire planet, and to be good global citizens.
Part of this is letting them discover how organic is better than chemical, and what their options are when it comes to beauty products, food or cleaners.
If you find yourself agreeing with our philosophy – or even merely intrigued by it – call us at the Waldorf Academy to schedule a time for us to meet you and your child and introduce you to our learning system.