Getting kids interested in saving energy can seem tough at first, but it doesn’t have to be. With warmer months upon us, saving energy will be crucial for keeping electricity bills low. Getting kiddos engaged now will help them form energy-saving habits for the future.
Before parents can teach their children how to save energy, they must first be prepared to answer, “What’s in it for me?” As most parents can attest, convincing kids to care about energy efficiency is a hard sell. To counter this indifference, parents can explain why it’s important to save energy and how it benefits the child and the world at large, to help kids understand the need to change their habits and motivate them to do so.
In the simplest and most transactional terms, less money spent on an electric bill can mean more money used for fun activities—that’s something children can get behind. Less tangible but just as important, using less energy means running your home more efficiently, to help conserve natural resources and benefit the environment.
Once you’ve got the kids on board that conserving energy is important, here are fun ways to teach kids how to be energy efficient and get them excited about saving energy.
Turn the learning experience into a game. One example is to create an “energy treasure hunt” around the home, where the family searches for devices or appliances that use the most electricity. After finding these items, you can discuss with your kids a few ways for those devices to use less energy.
Another game to play with your kids is I Spy for any energy-saving technologies in stores while out running errands. Encouraging your kids to find a wide variety of devices around stores can keep them even more engaged. Teach them about the Energy Star logo, which identifies the most energy-efficient devices and appliances.
Create a reward system. One simple method is a star chart. You can use the chart to keep track of stickers and reward your child for every 10 stickers that they earn for doing some activity that saves energy. Stickers could be earned every time your child remembers to turn off the light in a room when they exit, unplugs devices (like phone chargers) that they’re not using or showers in less than five minutes. Rewards can be small things that get your child excited, like a piece of candy or a small toy, or getting to pick dinner or dessert.
Discuss lifestyle changes as a family or as an individual, but also make the changes fun. This could be getting the family together to play a board game instead of watching TV. You could also suggest reading a book together instead of using electronic devices. Encourage them to play outdoors with friends instead of playing video games indoors. Incorporating energy-saving practices into everyday life is the best way to ensure the habit has a lasting impact.
Teaching your kids to save energy can be easier when you make it fun. With a little creativity, each of these suggestions can be modified for your family. Each of us, including our kids, can do our part to save energy.