Coming up with ways to reduce energy consumption and be more energy efficient in the home is a simple method to reduce a household’s budget. Plus it can be a great learning opportunity for the kids too.
When it comes to setting sustainability habits, it’s important to start early. You’re never too young to learn about saving energy, and by taking the time to educate your children, you’re creating values that last a lifetime.
It can be difficult for kids to get motivated to save energy if they don’t understand why they’re doing it. Have a chat with your children about where electricity actually comes from.
If you’re up for it, you can even explain the big picture stuff: that by saving energy at home and reducing your home’s energy consumption, you can also help save the planet, preserve our resources, reduce pollution, save money, and create healthier living environments for everyone.
After talking to your children about the big concepts, it can be good for them to actually be immersed in natural environments. That way they can see a a practical example!
Let them get to know and understand the natural enjoyment of the outdoors. Encourage them to ask questions, investigate what’s in the dirt, streams and under bark on trees. Watch out for spiders and snakes of course, but get them to interact with the great outdoors!
Time to turn off
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 – think of it like camping at home. You won’t have hot water, or a stove-top or oven.
Get your children involved in planning how they’ll get by. They’ll have to use their imagination in a new way. You can plan the time around family activities, like a board game evening, or like a home game of survivor!
Working on a garden with your child is a fun opportunity for some hands on learning. Planting veggies and native flora can really help kids feel directly connected to the environment, giving them a better idea of why saving energy and being eco-friendly is so important.
Understand the time it takes to grow something from scratch will also bring an appreciation for food and its value. Most families waste a lot of food, but if they grew it themselves most children wouldn’t be throwing it out because ‘they don’t feel like it’.
Energy Saving: The Game!
Check out what your children are actually learning about energy savings, by testing their 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.
Get creative with transport
As a parent, I’m often time poor and focused on simply getting myself and my family from one destination to the next. But teaching kids early that there are more energy efficient ways to travel can be super helpful.
Whether it’s carpooling to soccer, taking your family on a bike ride, or using the bus together, it all adds up! Just make sure your children understand why you’re changing things up.
Don’t be a hypocrite! If you’re setting rules in the house about energy, make sure they’re ones that everyone can follow.
If you tell your children to turn everything off at the wall to avoid using standby power, you need to do the same. Include everyone in the family in your energy saving endeavours and you’ll start kicking your saving goals sooner than you think.
The Ribbon Game.
Have your kids go ‘air’ hunting in your house to help discover where air is leaking in or out of your home. You can work this out by holding a ribbon up to the edges of your home’s windows. If air is leaking into—or out of—the house, the ribbon will move. The kids can then report it to you and you can take steps to address it, such as doing an energy audit.
Alternate putting your kids in charge of the thermostat. Have them check it a few times a day to make sure it’s on the right temperature. You can also purchase a programmable thermostat. This can be set to automatically turn off during any hours that you know your house will be empty and because you do not have to manually adjust it throughout the day. This way, you are less likely to leave it on a needlessly high setting for extended periods.
Reward Your Children for being Energy Conscious
Whether it’s complimenting your kids when they remember to turn off a light, or even tallying their eco-friendly decisions on a sticker chart, rewarding your kids is the best way to let them know you recognize and appreciate their efforts. If you’re feeling generous, you can even reward their hard work by having them choose what the money they saved should be put towards.
Finally, the first step is the hardest!
Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be difficult, and the best way to show that is by inspiring your kids through your own actions. Making small changes in small steps By making these changes to your household and encouraging your children to be more energy conscious both you and they will reap the benefits in both the short and long term.
Wondering what else you can do to save electricity? At carbonTRACK we’re passionate about combing energy management with sustainable living. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can learn about what we do here.