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:
- Cleaning For Healthy Schools Toolkit
- Healthy Schools Network Guide to Green Cleaning
- Healthy Schools Campaign Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools
- Green Clean Schools Free Webinar Series
- ChildSafe Cleaning Products