Teaching Kids to Conserve Energy at Home

tips for teaching kids how to conserve at home

tips for teaching kids how to conserve at home“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors.
We borrow it from our children.”
 -David Brower

Children are inherently curious about the world around them, whether it is how a water faucet works, or what happens to trash when it is picked up by the garbage collector. When we teach them how to conserve at home, and why it is important, we change the world. We can teach kids simple ways to conserve everyday at home, and they will eventually turn around and teach others.

Start simple

Teach kids to switch off the lights when they leave a room. (Children are capable of leaving every light on in an entire house, including lights that you don’t even realize you have.) If you educate them about how much energy they can save by using lights only when needed and turning them off every single time they leave a room, this is a hugely important energy saver that they can control.

Teach kids to be wise with water.

Water supplies are at risk in many areas of the world, and it is becoming a precious resource. Teach your children that they can control how much water they use. Turning the water off when they are brushing their teeth is a great start. Taking short showers instead of long baths can save over fifteen gallons of water each time.

Get kids into the habit of recycling.

The behaviors we practice as children often carry over into adulthood. Start teaching your kids the value of recycling early on. The Earth911 website suggests turning the lesson into a game.

Show kids the different types of recyclables around the home: plastics, glass, paper, and cardboard. Then explore the rooms of the house with your child and see who can point out the recyclable items first. But don’t stop with shampoo bottles and paper towel rolls. Search for donatable items as well. Teach your kids how to think about recycling outgrown possessions – old toys and unplayed games – by donating the items to charitable organizations.

Be sure to make it easy for your kids. Decorate bins together and designate an area for them.

Conservation doesn’t stop at the doormat.

Kids are remarkably good weed pickers, and can help you do all sorts of things in your yard. Teach them how beautiful their yard and garden can be without chemicals. Let them pick out a perennial and plant it. Buy your kiddos sunflower seeds and let them sprinkle them near a fence (sunflowers grow quickly and almost seem magical to watch).

Every chance that you get to have your children get their hands in the dirt, let them. Giving kids a connection to the natural world around them can make conserving and caring for it a very real concept.

Older kids can conserve with their chores.

Teach kids to run the dishwasher only when it is full. When they help with laundry, make sure they know to wash full loads, and use cold water the majority of the time. Teach them to clean the lint trap in the dryer every time, which is a safety concern, and keeps the dryer running smoothly. Model using non-toxic chemicals in cleaning, like vinegar and baking soda.

Children are sponges, and they soak up everything that we do on a regular basis. We have a responsibility to model good stewardship of the earth through our conservation efforts. Luckily, conserving is painless and easy to do at home!

Want more great tips for energy conservation at home? Download the ERC’s free Home Energy Savings Guide.

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