We always tell the kids to turn off the lights and turn off the running tap, but do they really understand why?
Having an energy efficient household starts with the people in the house all doing the basic things to decrease the energy consumption of that home.
Teaching kids to save energy is an important duty as a parent, to make sure your household consumption isn’t bigger than it needs to be and to help decrease your family’s global footprint.
To help combat this common challenge many Aussie parents face, we’ve pulled together the best energy saving tips to teach your kids. These examples are fun ways to help explain to your children the importance of saving your homes energy consumption, energy usage, reducing waste, and how to be more energy efficient during everyday activities.
1. First thing’s first; explain what electricity is
Now we’re not suggesting you give your 4-year-old a full-blown lesson on the nitty-gritty details of your last electricity bill. But help them to understand the difference between things that are:
- Powered on and working;
- Switched off or unplugged; and
- Not reliant on power at all.
Explain that electricity makes some things work and show them the differences. This initial awareness is a great first step. Once you teach your kids exactly how and when energy is used in your home, the easier the next step of getting your energy saving tips across. Our tips for kids are simple and fun for the whole family! When they begin to conserve energy on their own without you reminding them, our tips have been a success!
Want to gamify it like one of their video games? Try playing eye spy in your house by pinpointing different household items that do and don't use energy. Ensure you leave a light bulb to use as one of your objects, this one can be a tricky one!
2. Play a game of ‘would you rather’ or ‘which uses less power’
Once the kids understand which items in the house require power or charging prior to use, you can start playing fun activities of finding which uses less power (or no power at all). This is also a great way to teach your kids electricity safety tips. Depending on which household items you are using in your game, explain the dangers associated with them.
Present the kids with two options and have them choose the option that saves electricity. For example:
- An electric powered shaver or a manual one
- A broom or a vacuum
- Using the clothes dryer or hanging the clothes out on the line
- Toys that need to be charged to work or ones that don't
Your children will begin to learn what items use energy at home and start to be more conscious about their time spent using that appliance or think twice about the light being on in their room during the daytime.
3. Have a household energy saving challenge
Another great way to teach kids how to save electricity is by challenging the kids to some healthy competition. Set up a household energy saving challenge! Create a chart you can put on the fridge where everyone can add in the things, they did to either save power or reduce their usual power consumption.
Encourage them to try and make positive changes, rewarding them with stickers for their chart, a fun family activity, or perhaps even some pocket money to highlight how they can save money by making little changes day to day. This energy saving tip will have the whole family competing together to lower the next power bill, keeping you and your wallet happy.
See a few of our energy-saving challenges you can use to teach your kids better energy saving habits:
- Record your time spent in the shower and whoever spent the least time wins
- Challenge them to an hour of television followed by an hour of reading
- Count how many times they remember to turn a light off in a room, tally it up for the week to see the winner
4. Think outside the box
Steer clear from the TV and indulge in some good old-fashioned fun. Think arts and crafts, sport, or visits to the local playground for starters. Creativity is an important part of childhood, so make room for some inventive fun that isn’t led by whatever’s on the screen from time to time. It’ll be sure to save you some money in the long run too. Enjoying a family outing for a full day is a great way to save energy at home!
5. Get your own personal peg handler
The clothes dryer can be one of the biggest household consumers unless you've purchased one with a high energy star rating, but even than using no energy is better than using a little. When the sun is shining bright, head out into the backyard with your little helper and peg passer.
Entertaining your children in the backyard and getting them to help with the chores keeps them off their iPad and occupied with healthy activities that help conserve energy in your home.
6. Natural light in your home
When kids get to an age where they can reach the light switch it becomes a must to turn it on in every room their in. During those beautiful summer days where the sun is shining, having the light on is going to waste energy and beef up your power bill. As much as they think it’s fun turning on the light, teach them the habit of turning it off.
7. Music in the shower
Taking shorter showers is an easy way to decrease your homes energy consumption. To help teach your kids the importance of saving time in the shower, play one of their favourite songs that last for the time you want them to spend in there.
Make sure to reduce the hot water consumption with every family member taking shorter showers, leading by example is the best way for kids to learn. This can make shower time fun and reduce the time your children spend in the shower dramatically. When their songs over they know it’s time to get out and start the day.
8. An extra pair of hands in the kitchen
Kids love helping in the kitchen, especially when they get to choose what they are making. Decide on a delicious cake or batch of muffins and let your children get involved with the tasks that would usually be quicker with an appliance. Skipping the use of the household appliance will cut back on direct energy usage in your home!
A simple task like mixing the muffin batter can involve your children in an afternoon activity and help put together their school lunch, keep them occupied and away from the tv and video games.
9. Get the kids to plant a tree
Make planting a tree in your front or backyard a monthly occurrence and encourage green living. Getting outside and involving the kids by planting a tree can help them spend more time out of the house and get them more interested in the garden. Kids love getting their hands dirty and will be begging you to do more garden work.
By teaching your kids healthy energy saving habits they are understanding the importance of the environment and how your families impact can make a change.
10. Get reacquainted with nature
Our last idea takes things to the next level, but family bonding and a whole new appreciation for a powered house are sure to take place in the process! Soak up a solid dose of Mother Nature by going on a camping trip and avoiding the powered sites.
Taking this old-school approach may require some extra planning on your side but it’s bound to create lasting memories. Spending a family holiday out of the home is going dramatically help save electricity and lower your next bill.
Travel not an option? No worries! Backyard campouts and hangouts can work just as well and are a bunch of fun too. Set up camp with a ton of fun activities and make the house a no-go zone. Kids will love the change of scenery and your conserving energy in the process.
Bonus tip, Make a power outage fun!
They don't happen all that often but when they do it’s a great chance to bring the family together and have some family fun with a board game or share some spooky stories. When there is a blackout, have a blackout kit ready that your kids know about and are prepared for.
As soon as the power outage happens the kids will be excited to get the battery-powered torches ready, jump on a board game and build a LEGO fortress.