For many parents, teaching kids to save energy is a very rewarding experience. Not only are you teaching your children to be responsible adults, but taking the steps to ensure the future generation can better care for our planet. Discussing energy conservation with a child may seem confusing, especially if you aren’t sure how to approach the subject. Teaching kids how to save energy can take a bit of time and effort up front, but once you get them on board, you may find that they are the best energy savers in your household!
Teaching Kids to Save Energy: The Facts
To help better prepare children for the future, more school systems are starting to teach children of all ages about conserving energy and other natural resources. While many children of the 1980′s and early 1990′s stopped learning about energy conservation in elementary school, today’s students are growing into responsible adults with an understanding of the importance of conservation from science classes and in community service projects. Even outside of school, children are learning from cartoons, TV shows, and books that wasting electricity and limited energy resources does no good for our planet or our homes.
As parents, reinforcing what the schools have started and bringing these same eco-friendly messages into our own homes is our job. Rather than approach the subject as saving mom and dad money, show kids why saving money (by saving electricity) is important. Children love to be able to make a difference in their household, and any energy saving tips that they learn as a child, will stay with them as they become adults.
Teaching Kids to Save Energy: Energy Star Website
One great tool for teaching kids to save energy is Energy Star Kids. They have fun interactive games and activities to help children learn about energy conservation and how saving energy can help the world around them. Their interactive games feature fun characters like the Energy Star Super Heroes and the Dr. Seuss’s Lorax.
These games are perfect for teaching kids more about energy conservation, since they relate saving energy to their own lives and families. This website also gives parents a wonderful platform for teaching about energy conservation since it has resources not just for kids, but parents who are wanting to teach their whole family how to conserve energy in their own homes!
For older children, there are also plenty of resources that make learning about energy conservation fun! Our personal favorites are Kids.gov and Kids Saving Energy, two sites sponsored by the US Department of Energy. Both of these government sites focus on providing engaging, educational games and activities that make learning to save energy fun! Quite a few of the games focus on more complex science explaining why saving energy is important, while still designed to challenge older children and hold their attention. For teenagers that want something more hands-on, they even have science experiments which are perfectly safe to do at home or show off at school!
Teaching Kids to Save Energy: Family Interaction
While there are many great resources for teaching kids to save energy, putting them into practice may seem difficult for some families. Rather than start big, begin with little things, teaching kids a new way to save energy each week. Each week, have your children search the house daily for previous energy saving tips they learned, and then focus on the new one. Some families have even had success making it a competition in their own household, seeing who can carry out the most energy saving activities in a week by monitoring who accomplished certain things on a marker or sticker board.
If you have teenagers in your household, turn energy conservation into more than just a game, make it an important life lesson. Have them be in charge of the energy bill for a few months and teach them how to pay it. While they are in charge of the energy bill, have them look for ways they can lower energy and have everyone in the household make those changes. If they can lower the overall energy usage in your home by a certain amount, reward them with a prize from part of what they saved the family – perhaps a digital music album.
No matter how old your children are, it’s easy to make energy conservation fun! Some of the best tips for teaching kids to save energy include:
- Not leaving outside doors open longer than necessary.
- Turning off and unplugging unused electronics.
- Turning off lights when you leave a room.
- Turning water off when brushing your teeth.
- Unplugging cellphone chargers when not in use.
Don’t forget that there may also be family-oriented energy saving competitions in your own community – such as the San Diego Energy Challenge sponsored by SDG&E. It’s easy to sign up and get your family involved in saving energy around the home. With an interactive dashboard, daily prizes for saving, and real energy usage feedback, the Energy Challenge is a great way to get every member of your household involved.
To sign up, visit http://sdec.co/O8Z0Hc and create an account. You’ll need your SDG&E account number handy to complete sign-up.