I am so excited to publish this guest post from fellow vegan and businesswoman, Naomi Sheridan! Naomi is the mother of two beautiful and healthy vegan children, so I was really interested to hear her advice on raising vegan children. She shares more about family life on her website, Sheridan Party of 4. Do check it out!
Are your children going vegan with you?
As a parent, you make so many choices that will affect your children forever. This includes where to send them to school, how to discipline them, and what to feed them. Deciding to raise your kids vegan is a complicated discussion that comes with many hurdles.
There are many great reasons to raise your children vegan! Teaching them compassion for animals, starting them off with a healthy plant-based diet, and learning to take care of the earth, are all brilliant benefits.
If you choose to raise your children vegan, you may find yourself in many situations that other parents don’t have to face. Here are 5 tips that will make raising vegan children a little easier!
1. Be Prepared
Birthday parties might just be a vegan mum’s biggest fear. How is my kid going to handle being around 10 other kids eating cake, and being told no? Or coming home with a goody bag full of non-vegan treats and being told they can’t have any?!
The best way to avoid meltdowns is to plan in advance. Bring your own vegan desserts to parties and other get-togethers. It also helps to give your kids a meal before going to a party so they’re not too hungry. Some parents keep vegan treats in their bag – just in case there’s a situation where other kids receive candy and yours can’t enjoy it.
2. Educate Your Family
Answering questions like “where do they get their protein?” and “is it really safe for kids to be vegan?” is an unavoidable part of vegan parenting. It’s helpful if you have a response to these questions. One of my favourite books is ‘The China Study‘ as it’s full of great facts that you can use in situations like these.
As your children get older they will have to answer questions themselves – perhaps at school or from friends. It’s important to teach them why they are vegan, and facts about their health. Vegan children’s books are a good place to start. Some of my favourites are ‘I’m a Super Vegan‘, ‘Kiss or Cook?‘ and ‘V is for Vegan‘.
3. Support And Friends
Unfortunately, many vegan parents are surrounded by non-vegan family members and friends. It can be so helpful to find other vegan parents to talk to. A good place to start is Facebook groups for vegan parenting – look out for those in your country, county or state. Some do regular meet-ups. It’s also great for your children to have vegan friends so they feel part of a wider community.
It may not always be possible to find vegan friends, or perhaps you simply have existing friends that choose a different lifestyle. if that is the case, it helps to educate your significant other, family members and friends so you can hopefully have their support and understanding. A calm discussion goes a long way in getting people on board!
4. Plan Ahead
As a vegan parent, it helps to plan everything far in advance. In fact, this is quite useful for any parent! For example, if you are going on holiday, look into vacation spots and find out if they have vegan options. You may even be able to find a vegan hotel or somewhere with close vegan restaurants. If not, look for a place to stay with a full kitchen so you can prepare some meals.
It may take a bit more research when planning things like family outings, because you need to know what will be available to you and if you need to pack extra food. For road trips, it helps to know a few chain restaurants that have vegan options you can grab. The ‘Happy Cow‘ app is a great resource for finding restaurants that offer vegan food. Learner Vegan also has a great general guide ‘Planning for success as a new vegan‘ which can apply to families.
5. Be Creative
We live in a world that was mostly designed for non-vegans, so sometimes we have to be creative with our options! Many vegan parents were raised in a non-vegan home, so raising a cruelty-free child is completely new to them. Does that apply to you? You might have to change some holiday traditions to fit your diet, when raising vegan children. Halloween can be hard for vegan children as they are given a lot of non-vegan candy. There are some fun ways to avoid meltdowns – like the switch witch – to help with this. If you have a good group of vegan parents around you, you can plan a vegan trick or treat and all give out vegan candy. Easter can be a holiday that requires some creativity as well, but you can easily buy dairy-free eggs and make rice krispie cakes. Children really don’t need to miss out!
Another place that may require some imagination is the kitchen. Often, kids will see what others are eating and want the same foods. There are many vegan recipes available for foods like mac and cheese, burgers and nuggets. There are also many pre-packed vegan convenience foods available that mimic other kids’ favourite foods. Just remember that these are not the healthiest!
Keep it fun and make new family traditions that fit your vegan lifestyle, and your kids will be happy, rather than feeling that they are missing out. Again, if your kids are educated on why they are vegan, it will help them to understand why your family does things a little bit differently. As they get older, they will appreciate this more.
Raising your children vegan is a gift to them!
Hopefully, these tips will help make the journey easier and one day they will be grateful for it! Every parenting journey has its ups and downs, but remember that a plant-based diet is healthy and kind to animals.
About the author – Naomi Sheridan is a mother of 2 vegan children. She is passionate about helping other vegan parents on their journey and making sure no vegan child misses out on living life to the fullest! Her site Sheridan Party of 4 is all about navigating vegan parenting and raising vegan children.
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