Kids of all ages should be learning the principles of saving energy — and it’s never too young to start! Parents that take the time to engage their child in going green, whether by having rules or making a game out of it, are teaching their families values that can last a lifetime.
Here are ten ways to teach your kids to save energy:
Awareness and education. In order for kids to appreciate conserving energy, they need to understand where it comes from. Have a discussion with your child on the subject of energy, explaining where energy and electricity comes from. There are many kid-friendly websites that explain the concept such as Physics4Kids.com or Energy Star Kids in a fun and accessible way. You can also check out books at the library
Explore the outdoors. Take your child on a nature walk or go to the beach. Let them get to know and understand the natural enjoyment of the outdoors. Camping is a great way to get the family together and have kids disengage with television and video games.
“Turn it Off” Time. Challenge your family to take a few hours a day, or even a whole week, to keep the electricity off. For young children, this can be an especially fun adventure. They have to use their imagination in a new way. You can plan the time around family activities, like a board game evening.
Plant a garden. Gardens naturally help the environment, even small container gardens. A garden can give your child more responsibility and teach them about plants and natural resources. You can grow food together, like herbs and vegetables. Kids take pride in their own creations.
Design energy-efficient kid spaces. When upgrading their bedroom or playroom, have your child take charge of the space. Allow them to be involved in the process and understand that the choices you make for the room will have a positive impact on the environment.
“I Spy” energy savings. Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned game of “I Spy?” Test your child’s knowledge of energy-savings around the house or while out on errands. Have them spot all of the energy-saving products around them. This is also an opportunity to explain products that may be using more energy than they are worth.
Transportation is an adventure. Sometimes as parents we just focus on getting our children from point A to point B. But teaching them that there are ways to travel around town more efficiently than a car can be important. Take your family on a bike ride or use a bus the next time you go out together.
Conserve together. Create rules specifically for conserving energy. If you reduce your shower time, have your child do the same. Everyone should be expected to turn off the lights when they leave a room. The lifestyle changes you make should be the same ones your child follows.
Share projects. Implementing a DIY upgrade to your home? Get your kids involved and make it a family project. Spend time and bond with your child, while also giving them ownership of the project. Even allowing your child a small amount of time to be a part of the project can make them appreciate it more.
You save, they save. Besides helping the environment, saving energy can also save on bills. When you and your family save money, your child saves too! Reward their hard work by having them choose what the money they saved should be saved for.
Perhaps a family trip or kids night out! A home energy audit can tell you where to get the most out of your home upgrades—especially for your wallet.