The issue of climate change isn’t going to go away. The adverse effect our energy use over the past 200 years has had on the environment means that the next generations will have to deal with the consequences. This makes teaching our children and grandchildren how to be energy efficient more important than ever.
There’s no better place to start giving the right messages to children than in the home. It’s easier than you might think to spread a green message to all the family without creating another stressful task for yourself. By getting the children involved in saving energy not only will they be helping the environment, but they’ll also save you extra work and money in the house.
Lead By Example
It’s impossible to teach your children to be better with energy if you’re still forgetting to turn off a light or are always leaving items on standby yourself. Overcome your bad energy habits before asking them to do the same. Children will automatically mimic the way you approach tasks, so setting a good example will have a detrimental effect on the sort of habits your children pick up at home.
Make Saving Energy Fun
Try and make energy saving tasks fun. If you make environmentally friendly activities part of playtime, children will be more inclined to get involved and have more fun doing so. Create games or competitions that also make the house more energy efficient. Set up a scoring chart, which awards points to children for completing a task efficiently – from opening and closing the curtains or putting all their dirty clothes in the washing machine to helping Mum or Dad with the washing up.
Giving rewards for progress and achievement is also important. Setting treats and prizes for the best effort are great incentives for children to work harder.
In the Garden
There’s lots of fun for kids to have in the garden, and plenty of ways to save energy outdoors. Why not couple the two together for outdoor fun with an energy efficient twist. Enlist the help of your child to wash the car by hand, water the plants with a watering can or even put the washing on the line.
Get Your Kids Involved
Get your child involved in the household jobs that save energy. Giving responsibility for turning all the lights off in the house, or helping with the recycling helps children feel a part of the process, and they’ll take more pride in the job they do.
You should also always explain why saving energy is so important, as communicating the right message alongside practical teaching will make good habits stick. Help your child to understand why remembering to unplug their computer consoles or switching the tap off when they brush their teeth is so important.
Work with Your Local School
Try and coordinate your efforts with those of your child’s school. Some schools will already have a policy of teaching children energy efficient habits in the classroom, but the effect it has on your children will be maximised if the same environmentally conscious messages are replicated when they get back home.
If your school hasn’t got anything planned, why not volunteer your assistance in the classroom and get other parents involved? It’s possible to arrange for your local council or other local representatives to visit schools on educational visits that will make learning more interactive for children.