By Guest Blogger Kristen Daukas with Ten to Twenty Parenting

At some point of your parenting tenure, this scenario is going to happen to you:

You’re in the kitchen, rushing around doing your end of day things. Getting dinner ready (if you know what you’re actually going to make), going thru the mail, sorting thru the endless stream of paperwork sent home by the school, cleaning out the clutter that is in your car (who knew you birthed an entire football team?!) and then, suddenly, you stop. You can feel the burn of their eyes boring into the back of your head. You turn around, only to see your precious offspring staring at you in disgust and out of their mouth comes the assault.

“Mom. You know you really shouldn’t be throwing those things into the trash. You should recycle them. And you know those really long showers that Daddy takes? Do you know how bad that is for the planet? And I went around the house and do you realize that WE DON’T HAVE A SINGLE CFL LIGHT BULB??”

You’ve just been served, Mom – by the junior “Go-Green” Police.

You try to think quickly. Trying to think of some excuse as to WHY you’re throwing out paper when yes, you realize you should recycle. Yes, you do have recycling bins and yes, you have started recycling ten times at least only to get lazy and stop. You’re busy…it’s so much easier just to toss it and YES you know it’s wrong but really – there is only so much time in a day and does one person make a difference?

Yes. One person DOES make a difference and yes, it does take time to break bad habits. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all at one time. If you take on one small thing a month, by the end of the year you will have added twelve simple things to your routine to help save your Mother Earth, your sanity and the good reputation you’ve spent years building with your kids.

But where do you start? Lucky for us here in the Triad, we have an amazing resource at our fingertips in the Piedmont Environmental Alliance. Earlier this year, they devised this exact kind of 12 step guide to help busy families go “green”… one step at a time. Every month, they release a new step and give ideas on how to work it into your family’s day to day routine.  Here are the monthly steps that PEA suggests:

January – Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
February – Cold Weather Mediation = Lower Utility Bills
March – Conserve Paper and Remember its Roots
April – Give Back to the Planet
May – Travel Smartly
June – Warm Weather Savers
July – Purchase Wisely
August – Wash Without Waste
September – Back to Schoo
October – Your Voice, Your Vote
November – Bundle Up, it’s Getting Cold!
December – Conscientious Giving and Holiday Living

And the steps are EASY! Here are some of the ideas they have for April, which is “Give Back to the Planet”:

Green your garden and lawn: Plant a garden, use rain barrels, visit local nurseries, mulch your garden with FREE mulch from the city and more!

Help Children Connect with the Natural World: Visit the Edible School Yard in Greensboro, visit the Green Desk to help create natural play settings

Eat Local: Check out the local farmer’s markets (there are a few!), promise yourself that you’ll spend 10% of your food budget on buying from local farmers.

Celebrate Earth Day – That’s today!

They’re easy, simple things that even the busiest families can do. You don’t have to do them all to make an impact. Just pick a few! Then, next month build on what you’re already doing and, before you know it – you will be living the life that your sweet offspring so want you to!

Want to prove to Junior that you’re really going to do this and make a difference? Then grab the family and make your way out to the 2012 Earth Day Fair, which is next Saturday, April 28th from 10-5. It’s FREE and there are going to be tons of family and kid activities. Everything from a parade, to pony rides, story tellers, face painters and plenty of exhibits to keep you motivated to live green. We’ve been the past couple of years and it’s amazing.

And free. Did I mention free?

Happy Earth Day, everyone! What kind of things do you do in your family to make a difference?