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6 Ways to Get Your Kids to Help Save on Energy Bills
Solar energy is great, and will slash what you pay to the utility company. But what about also cutting down your electricity usage as much as possible? A big help is right in your home if you have kids.
Kids generally don't have energy consumption on the brain. They don't pay the electric bill, and they probably don't even know what a carbon footprint is. But they can still learn to do some things to help save on energy around the house. It just takes a little education and empowerment. Here's 6 ways to do just that.
1. Teach by Example
One of the best ways to teach kids about energy conservation is through your own good example. Children learn by watching their parents. If they see Mom and Dad turn out the lights whenever they leave a room, they'll do so as well—well, eventually. Believe it, your constant requests about turning off the lights is making an impression, even if it doesn't always seem like it.
2. Give Them Responsibility
Tell younger kids, "Let me know whenever I've left a light on in a room when I leave." This gives a child the right to correct Mom or Dad, and that's a privilege the child will likely take to heart. They'll be watching whenever a parent leaves the room. This gives them ownership of something and they will be proud to be responsible for it.
3. Use Creative Reminders
Get a stack of sticky notes, and put them on the items you want the child to turn off. Write little notes such as, "Turn me off before you go to bed" or "Unplug me after playing this game" and attach them to the appropriate devices. Use notes of different colors and shapes to create fun visual aids, which will in turn save on all the dollars the power companies are getting from you.
4. Encourage Self-Discovery
A little time searching will reveal some great websites that engage kids and start them thinking about ways to conserve. Some websites allow children to click through a virtual house and discover ways they can conserve energy. Messages such as, "Don't leave doors open to the outside longer than necessary" reinforce behaviors in fun ways. Fun facts such as where electricity comes from are displayed in colorful windows.
5. Foster Role Models in Older Kids
Explain to older children why it's important to save energy. Show them the electric bill and the different totals. Explain how if the TV is left on overnight, there's less money to spend on other things.
6. Take Field Trips to Reinforce Reality
To a child, electricity is something magical that comes out of the wall. It seems like an infinite source of power to run their toys, games and computers. Take them to visit a local power plant. Trace the electricity with them as it leaves the plant and goes to substations, eventually ending up at your home.
Talk to them about how the electricity is created and how there isn't an endless supply. If there isn't an infinite supply and many people have to share it, then what are the ways children can help reduce the energy they use? Conversations like this will challenge children to come up with ways they think will help.
Children can be very perceptive and understand more than they are often given credit for. Try different ways of communicating energy conservation with your child, and watch as they enthusiastically take on the challenge of saving energy in the home.