Janelle Sorensen is the Chief Communications Officer for Healthy Child Healthy World. Simultaneously, she takes care of her sweet little girls, cooks, cleans, gardens, reads, bikes, hikes, crafts, laughs, speaks using silly voices and accents, drafts environmental policies, works on a Master's Degree, and tries to keep up with social media. Well, typically not all at the same time.

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Get Your Child’s School or Day Care Center to Clean Green

You’ve made the switch to safer cleaners at home, but what about when your child is off at daycare or school? The chemicals in institutional cleaning products can cause a wide range of major health problems for children, including respiratory irritation and increased risk of cancer.

Luckily, safer cleaning products are now widely available and cost effective. As a result, child care centers and schools across the country are switching to green cleaners to improve health, increase staff performance, lessen adverse environmental impacts, reduce potential liabilities, and save money. (Yes, switching to green cleaning does have all of these benefits – talk about win, win, win.)

How do you get your childcare provider or school to make the switch?

1. Get informed. Use the resources listed below to get up to speed on the benefits of going green and the tools available to help schools and child care centers make the switch. It’s much easier for them to address the “problem” if you have solutions in hand.

2. Inform others. Once you understand the problem and solution, talk to other parents, teachers, the school nurse, anyone who’ll lend you a sympathetic ear. You want to have an influential group of people to help support your effort as you move forward.

3. Talk to someone with the authority to do something. That may be your school’s superintendent, a school board member or the manager of your child care center, or they may direct you straight to whomever is in charge of maintaining the facility.

4. Approach every person you talk to as an ally, not an enemy. Remember the fundamentals of How to Win Friends and Influence People – like not criticizing people, showing appreciation for their work, smiling. Trust me, you will get much farther much faster if you employ kindness, gratitude, and diplomacy. You want to be seen as an invaluable asset, not as an incessant nag.

5. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they are doing their job to the best of their ability. School and child care professionals are typically overworked, underpaid, with a lot to do and inadequate funding to get it done. Make yourself available. Keep asking “what can I do to help?”

Here are some resources to get you started:

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Comments (5)

  1. Pingback: Kids Cross Dangerous Bridge Walking to School TodaysMama

  2. Anastasia B 03/07/2011 at 2:56 pm

    That’s a great guide, if we weren’t planning on homeschooling, I would surely urge our school to adopt green cleaning practices!

  3. Vivian 10/24/2010 at 2:45 am

    We recommend green cleaning in child care setting because young children readily share their germs with each other and many cleaning products out there contain harmful chemicals. Green cleaning products are safer for children and does the job better than the other products.

    I am the owner of 3 Steps Commercial Cleaning. We specialize in green and healthy office and janitorial cleaning for the childcare industry, preschools and other educational facilities. Our mission is to provide a safer, cleaner and healthier environment by using only green seal qualified products.

    Service Areas includes: Dallas, Allen, Richardson, Plano, Garland, Addison, Irving, Grand Prairie, Carrollton, Rockwall, Frisco, Wylie, Mesquite, and McKinney, Texas


  4. Familyfreedominfo 10/10/2010 at 2:32 am

    I am helping homes and daycares to go green as well as help bring extra money into the household!!! http://www.FamilyFreedom.info

  5. Lisa @ EWG 10/05/2010 at 11:58 pm

    Janelle, Great ideas and resources. I’d love to add EWG’s school cleaners report and toolkit, too! People who are interested can read our research into conventional and greener school cleaning products, plus, we have tools to support parents who want to work with their school administration to clean greener – a letter to customize, and a fact sheet to help educate school administrators about the benefits of green cleaning. All here: http://www.ewg.org/schoolcleaningsupplies/ReduceAirPollutantsatYourSchool. Hope it is handy, Lisa Frack, EWG