Gisele Bundchen limits her kids’ screen time & encourages them to be bored

Keanu Reeves, Alexandra Grant at arrival...

Gisele Bundchen covers the latest issue of Marie Claire. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this piece – which is written like a first-person essay but is really just her comments transcribed neatly – but I really did? The point of the cover story is that she’s turning 40, her eleven-year anniversary as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is coming up, and she truly wants to talk about environmental issues, big and small. She has some big, lofty environmental goals, but she also talks about the simple changes everyone can make to become more environmentally conscious. You can read her full piece here. Some highlights:

The Amazon fires: A few years later, my father and I did Projeto Água Limpa (Clean Water Project) in my hometown, Horizontina, in southern Brazil. Over the course of five years, we planted more than 40,000 trees and took care of the land until the trees grew strong, which helped improve the water quality and brought amazing wildlife back to the area. Given the forest fires in the Amazon, the bush fires in Australia, and the devastating impact around the world, reforestation efforts are more crucial than ever. I believe our responsibility is to take care of the earth and its natural resources. Our survival depends on it. My goal in life is to leave the earth in a better place for future generations.

Practicing sustainability at home: I always keep in mind and teach my kids the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. This straightforward approach allows us to work toward simple, alternative, eco-friendly processes in our everyday lives that can make a big difference. My family tries to focus on limiting the use of paper and plastic at home. We utilize a water filter and reusable water bottles and compost all our natural food waste. When we go grocery shopping, we always bring our own bags, and by buying from local farmers we reduce packaging waste. We do our best, but it can be challenging when it comes to living completely green—and that’s OK. I always remind my kids that every choice we make has an impact on our planet and that we always need to try our best; that’s what matters.”

What her kids do for the environment: “I love seeing my kids get excited when they find fresh eggs in our chicken coop or harvest the vegetables from our garden. As a family, we also each have our reusable water bottles, and the kids understand single-use plastic is really hurting our planet. I see them talking with their friends about it and showing them their water bottles in hopes they might join them and use them too…One story that I can remember is when we were at the beach and my son Benny found plastic in the ocean. He was so upset, and I explained to him that this is what happens after we discard things; they go to landfills and sometimes end up in the ocean. For the past couple of years, he decided that he did not want presents from his friends at his birthday party. Instead, he would like if they could donate to organizations that help endangered species.

Her diet: “I find balance is key to maintaining a healthy diet. At our house, we try to eat organic foods that are in season and locally grown. We believe that by buying locally, we’ll have a better chance at getting foods that are fresh and also support local farmers. We eat mostly a plant-based diet. It makes us feel good, and it also has less of an impact on the environment, but I’m not super strict and believe everything is OK in moderation. My ultimate guilty pleasure is dark chocolate.

Limiting screen time: “Our family tries to limit the amount of screen time. Technology and social media can be a wonderful platform to spread positivity and awareness, but I do believe it is important to stay present and mindful of how it is used. The kids have an iPad where they can sometimes watch movies or play games, but they do have a time limit on that. I encourage them to play together and be outside as much as possible. When they tell me they are bored, I tell them that is good, because this way they can think of something else that they want to do. Usually within a few minutes they are running after each other around the house in some game they made up. Benny can also spend hours at his desk drawing, and Vivi plays in her room with her horses and Care Bears. In our home, we don’t have electronics at the table or in bed.”

On beauty: “My beauty philosophy has always been “less is more,” which is something I learned from my mother early on. When I was growing up, she didn’t wear much makeup, and I feel I got that trait from her. Of course, I love wearing makeup from time to time, and the ritual of applying beauty products is a way of caring for yourself. I like natural products and try to align with beauty brands that are making a conscious effort to recognize the impact they have on our environment and look for ways to improve.”

[From Marie Claire]

I think one of the best things here for everyday enviro-childrearing is limiting screen time and giving kids the freedom to be bored. That is SO important and it’s painful to see how different that is now, versus how it was when I was growing up. Sure, my parents worried about how much I watched TV, but I also played outside and drew and made up games and let my imagination run wild. That’s how it should be. Create that space for your kids! As for what she says about beauty… I mean, we all know that she’s not ageing naturally and we all know that she made that trip to a French plastic surgeon several years ago and came back with a very tweaked face. But sure, she probably doesn’t wear a ton of makeup.

Cover and IG courtesy of Marie Claire.

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16 Responses to “Gisele Bundchen limits her kids’ screen time & encourages them to be bored”

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  1. Veronica S. says:

    There’s always something hilariously un-self-aware about wealthy people talking about environmental change. You ever looked at the energy and resource consumption of one average American household? Imagine the kind of carbon print their lifestyle produces. You won’t ever see them giving it up, though. That’s for the rest of the peasantry lol.

    • lucy2 says:

      Good point – the travel alone, especially on private jets, obliterates any other actions they take.

      But otherwise, I do like the article, and small steps by many do add up. And the reforestation project she was involved in was good.
      I also agree about it being ok for kids to be bored, and it leading to them thinking of stuff for themselves. I see so many friends stressing about how to keep their kids entertained every waking minute while isolating. My parents never did that, and I would just find things to do and play by myself, and eventually with my brother when he was old enough.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Haha! I’m always banging on about this! I guess it makes sense to them: everyone else can change their ways, lessen their carbon footprint, drive less, consume less, recycle more… and we can go on living our blissful lives. I mean, geez, wasn’t I at a farmer’s market just last week? And with a reusable hemp bag, too. 😂😂

    • Kelly says:

      I think what she’s saying about reforestation is really important and things like that definitely make a change, and we desperately need more of that.

      I’m tired of people searching for “hipocrisy” in everything. I’m sure you contradict your own beliefs in several ways, some you’re conscious of and some you haven’t even thought of. I know I do. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t, really. This is always used to bring down every person trying to make a change.

      I’m not a big fan of Gisele, for the record, I find her whole hippie-bohemian thing to be rather exhausting. But she’s talking a lot of important points here and listing some ways to help, like using recyclable bags and bottles. Yeah, sucks about the private jets, but I’m sure you also violate eco-friendliness in more ways than one without having planted 40.000 trees in Brazil.

      • Veronica S. says:

        I mean, you can defend the ultra wealthy all you want, but at the end of the day, they are really not your friend and they are certainly not going to save the world. They will plant their trees, bang on about everything they’ve done, while happily taking their paychecks from notoriously wasteful industries from notoriously wasteful industries (fashion) and getting their massive tax cuts a corrupt administration they supported that’s likely done more to increase pollution and hasten climate change at rates beyond what we now control. And of course, in about ten years when we really see the impact of climate change and the rest of us are dealing with it, people like them will sit in their air conditioned mansions drinking organic tea and making sad faces at the news.

        I fully admit that I’m part of the problem living in an industrialized nation, but unlike them, I’m not banging on about it in a magazine and ecofriendly living, as if that isn’t a massive privilege in and of itself, nor do I have the option of ending my career with the hundreds of millions of dollars I already have to my name, that I could put to tons of use fighting climate change politically. Save me the lecture.

    • Tomatonose says:

      I agree with all the comments on here. Giselle and Tom preach about being so green and organic. Take private jets and stays at world-class hotels that use up a ton of energy. Drives crazy expensive cars, actually, their drivers do. Telling us to eat locally is tone deaf, some people can’t afford local produce because typically those are organic. To sound like this today, is so desperate… this was so 2004. LOL. Where people didn’t really bother fact checking or have the ability to see alternative news. Frankly, I am tired of her and all these fake healthy people like Kourtney Kardashian. Healthy but injecting silcone into your body and doing botox is OH SO HEALTHY. Get it girls.

      • Veronica says:

        I just find it amusing how many people go out of their way to fall for the minor gestures the ultra wealthy make all the time for PR purposes so people get lulled into thinking enough has been done. Especially in a time of climate change and a LITERAL F*CKING PANDEMIC that’s making the economic disparity even more obvious.

        You know the single biggest thing they could do to help reduce pollution? Pay more taxes. That would give governments ability to increase climate change efforts through legislation and support green energy projects. It would give states the ability to fund social safety net programs that would relieve poverty and healthcare waste. It would help build roads, improve infrastructure, and allow for more mass transit that would significantly reduce vehicles on the road and cut down carbon emissions. You could build up high speed communications infrastructure and push more positions to work from home.

        All of these are very basic changes to a society that would make massive improvements in industrialized nations. You ever see the wealthy lobbying for any of that shit? Of course not. They’d rather plant a f*cking tree that’ll get burned down again or cut down in twenty years when climate change has devastated communities and farmers cut down more forests out of desperation to get fertile land. Because at the end of the day, they don’t have to give up anything for that.

    • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

      “.. I always remind my kids that every choice we make has an impact on our planet and that we always need to try our best; that’s what matters.”

      So says the woman who ALWAYS flies private jet. And who lives in a mansion using God knows how much water/eclectricity.

      Your privilege is showing Assh@le. Sorry.. I have NO patience for this poser.

  2. Kc says:

    Am I the only one that finds Gisele as insightful and interesting as a bowl of cold oatmeal? At least the oatmeal could have a purpose.

    • Snappyfish says:

      The oatmeal has purpose. I just can’t with her. All the environmental awareness from a woman who flew privately to her hometown to grab her twin (while idling on a runway) to then jet off to Paris & masquerade in full burka (which is illegal there) so not to be recognized while going into her plastic surgeon’s office is just priceless. My opinion only, of course, but I have never been able to stand her. Pose pretty for pictures & keep your mouth shut.

      Eating organic & local is really wonderful. It doesn’t, however, change you & your husband’s enormous carbon footprint.

      I do like the dress she is wearing on the cover

  3. Becks1 says:

    Huh, I actually agree with her? I feel so weird now, lol. I like how she talks about everything in moderation. we try to reduce our single-use plastic and we recycle a ton, but I know we’re not going to be perfect, we just do the best we can. We also typically limit screen time for our kids (a bit harder right now, but in general) and I think it makes a big difference in their behavior and the kinds of things they do to entertain themselves. They still get some, we’re just pretty strict about, especially during the school week. Right now though all bets are off the table (I say as my kids watch Price is Right, ha.)

  4. Yati says:

    Boredom is good. I actually encourage it around my house lol. My kid either takes a nap or starts cleaning or drawing. There’s too much emphasis on keeping kids in a strict schedule. Depending on the child of course, sometimes just let them be for a few hours.

    And well gisele has always been extra. Seems she dialed it down a bit.

  5. Granger says:

    Her ultimate guilty pleasure is… dark chocolate. Does dark chocolate even qualify as a guilty pleasure? Isn’t that supposed to be something truly unhealthy/naughty, like cinnamon buns or Mars bars or chocolate-peanut-butter-ice cream?

    • Lightpurple says:

      She likes Dunkin Munchkins too. She’s commented before that she loves them and always brings boxes of them to Ben’s hockey practices.

  6. Kelly says:

    What she says about boredom is so important, especially because kids don’t stop being bored staring at a screen – they just get a little distracted from their boredom. I’m mindblown by the ammount of parents I see nowadays who just hand their kids an ipad and make them watch Peppa Pig all day. I remember my parents were concerned about how much TV I watched as a kid, I can’t imagine how it is when your kids literally carry a mini-TV with them at all times.

  7. Ersatz says:

    To work in fashion yet pretend to care about the environment, oh the irony…