Whether your child is barely tall enough to reach the light switch or you have a teenager living in their own world, it can often be a challenge to get kids to save energy. But the monetary and environmental consequences of wasting energy is an important lesson for kids of all ages to learn.
So, how can you attract your child’s interest in energy consumption? SaveOnEnergy has a few tips to help parents steer their children toward becoming energy savers in no time.
Set a good example. Children emulate their parents’ behavior. If you constantly adjust the heat rather than put on a sweater, leave the lights on all over the house or stand with the refrigerator door open while deciding on a snack, you can’t expect your children to do the opposite. Instead, take the time to research easy ways to save energy and follow your own advice. Your kids will take notice and start following your lead.
Start early. Even before your youngsters are tall enough to reach the light switch, you can tell them why saving energy is important. Young children love a running commentary, so while you’re taking a short shower or cooking efficiently in the kitchen, you can explain what you’re doing and why. You can also ask them for “help” – lift them up to turn off the light switch or have them push a door closed for you. By educating your kids early in life, they will grow up knowing how to conserve energy and why it’s important.
Read about recycling, conservation efforts, and saving gas, electricity and water. Many children’s books tackle the difficult topic of climate change in terms they can understand. Whether it’s teaching them to sort recyclable items or the benefits of shorter showers, your local library can help you teach your children all about saving energy.
Start a mantra. If the book your daughter reads says she can save the polar bears by turning off the computer and lights when not in use, explain new things as they come up that can also help “save the polar bears.” When your child becomes interested in an environmental topic, be sure to encourage them to learn more about what they can do to help. They’ll quickly learn that their energy habits around the house can have impacts around the world.
Put each child in charge of something. Your son may be in charge of making sure the lights are out before everyone leaves the house and your daughter may be in charge of making sure everyone recycles paper instead of throwing it away. This makes them feel they’re part of the solution – and they will probably enjoy getting to remind their parents of the rules every once in a while! This is also a great way to get your older kids involved in energy savings. The habits they forge today will stick with them throughout adulthood.
Begin taking family walks. If you’re planning a trip to the ice cream shop down the street, why not walk instead of drive? Not only will family walks allow you to spend quality time together, but you can also discuss the environmental and fiscal importance of saving gas. You could even schedule a walk dedicated to picking up litter or finding new flowers.
Keep computers and charging equipment in main rooms, not bedrooms. Your kids’ phone chargers and laptops don’t need to be plugged in all the time – that leads to vampire energy use. By keeping these devices in the kitchen or family room, you can keep a better eye on how much energy they are consuming.
Attach a list of snacks to the refrigerator door. If your kids always come home from school and stand in front of an open refrigerator, make them stop and think before they touch the door. An up-to-date list of what is inside the fridge will help everyone think about what they want before they waste energy standing in front of an open door. Also, take the time to explain why it’s important to keep the refrigerator door closed. When the cold air gets out, the fridge uses more energy to keep the inside at the right temperature. Understanding why this habit saves energy will help them remember to stick to it even when you aren’t around.
Use a timer for the shower. No matter your age, it can be easy to lose track of time in the shower. Encourage your teens to set a timer the next time they shower so they know exactly how long the water was running. For younger kids, you can set the timer on your phone and tell them afterwards. Reducing shower time by just a minute or two every couple of days can ease them into a new, shorter routine.
Give incentives. If all else fails, bribe them. Make a deal that if your child meets a certain goal, he or she gets extra time for something special or can pick the movie that night. Having something to look forward to can do wonders for children’s attitudes. We won’t judge you!