As a dedicated greenie, I take pride in the fact that I can usually discern the green from the green washing a mile away and that I am rarely swayed to spend for the sake of spending on the latest fashions or gadgets. And try as I might to instill these principles into my girls, I have to admit that it's easier for them to talk green then it is for them to buy green, especially when they are face-to-face with the latest sparkly pink character toy at the local store. So here are a few tricks I've tried with my own kids to help them remember the Earth when they are shopping:

  • Guiding light: Harness the skills of a budding shop-o-holic (and reign in her spending) by encouraging her to research and develop a local green buying guide. She can canvass local stores and businesses to find sources for green goods and then compile her research into an online community buying guide.
  • Click (and buy) different: The website I Buy Different is an excellent resource for teaching your child about the environmental, economic and social pitfalls of consumerism. Surf the site together to help him learn how the products he buys (or begs you to buy) make an impact on the environment.
  • Give back: If your child decides to do without that video game or extra pair of jeans, let her donate the money she saved to a conservation group or charity of her choice. For example, donations to PAWS: Progressive Animal Welfare Society help to provide vaccines, food and shelter to homeless animals. Or for a $10 donation to Trees For Life the organization will plant 10 fruit trees in a developing nation to help protect the environment and offer a renewable source of food to people in need. In addition, your child will get a tree seed starter kit with instructions for growing and planting.
Teaching kids to shop green
Kids live in the mall? Teach them to use their dollars to save the planet.