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How to Teach Kids Good Sustainability and Energy Saving Habits

It’s a fact we all need to face – electricity costs are continuing to rise and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot we can do about it. Sure, you can implement these tips to save money on your power bill and compare electricity prices but when it comes down to it, families need to face up to the brutal truth that no matter who they go with, they’re still going to get stung. We’re living in a world where it’s up to us to become more sustainable – because we certainly can’t wait for big businesses to do it for us!

How to Teach Kids Good Sustainability and Energy Saving Habits

This article is written in collaboration with Amaysim.

Rather than waste away mourning for the cheaper prices of yesterday or the bygone products that we morally reject, what we can do today is begin to instil good energy saving habits in our kids and teach them more about the planet. Yes, it might make the cost of energy a little more palatable but more than that it will teach them more sustainable practices and to take individual responsibility for a global issue.

Here are some key ways that you can get kids involved with saving energy in your home AND how to get more sustainable!

Getting Honest About Power

Energy saving habits (and sustainability practices) come down to the individual. Here are some things that you can teach your kids that may help influence them down the path of becoming more energy conscious themselves.

Who knows – with enough practice, they may even do it without asking! (Hey, there’s always hope!)

The first step? Electricity.

Electricity is a huge cost in many homes. Not only by the dollar as you pay your (increasingly growing) bills each quarter, but also the huge drain it puts on our environment. Monitoring your household energy consumption via smart meters will also provide you (almost) real-time insight so you can better manage your usage.

girl turning of light switch

Teaching sustainable energy practices in this realm can be as simple as:

  • Working with your children (toddlers through to teens) about the importance of turning lights and power off when you leave a room. Remember how your parents used to make a big deal about it when you were young? Well, it turns out they were right!
  • Trade out hours spent in front of screens for some outside time. Sound too tough? Start with half hour increments. You must complete a half hour of outside play and a half hour of chores to qualify for a half hour on the iPad. This energy saving tip has the knock on effect of being better for your kids physically and mentally – plus think of all of those chores that are about to get knocked out of the way!
  • On the screens tangent – ask your children to power down their TVs, gaming systems and desktop computers completely when they’re not in use. Leaving items on standby for no reason is absolutely not necessary and is a complete waste of electricity.
  • Have kids brush teeth at the sink instead of the shower. It is far easier to time the required two minutes this way instead of in the shower. This saves both water and electricity or gas.
  • Swap out plastic toothbrushes for bamboo toothbrushes. These toothbrushes have a 100% biodegradable handle and help to reduce the 23 million plastic toothbrushes used and thrown into landfill in Australia every year.
  • Monitor fridge usage times – particularly for hungry teens who like to stand in front of it in the afternoons and toddlers that forget to close the door.
  • Time and monitor shower usage. Do you really need an extra thirty minutes in the morning? Potentially not. Model the behaviour that you expect from your kids.
  • Look for ways to cut down on plastic waste. Shop at greengrocers who don’t overly wrap every single green bean. Look for ways to be plastic wise. Always take your green bags with you when you do the shopping, think carefully about things like plastic wrap and avoid plastic straws at all costs.
  • Get those kids outside and into the garden! Create a vegetable and herb garden to teach sustainability from the ground up. You can compound this by also creating a compost space so you don’t waste scraps and you can see those fat, juicy, friendly worms in action spreading the green love.
  • Walk, ride, skate, jog and hop! Can your family cut down on the amount that they use the car? Can you get some incidental exercise via a walk to the shops instead of all piling into the gas guzzling Corolla?

The above tips are all quite simple and straight-forward ways to cut down on energy usage and to promote the idea of a global citizen who cares about sustainability and the environment.

But how can children and teenagers truly benefit? What does this teach them?

The End of Disposable Culture

Many of us grew up in times of excess. We threw things away. Recycling was a foreign concept. People threw cigarette butts out of car windows. Everything was plastic fantastic and it didn’t matter what happened to it after you didn’t want it anymore.

We know now, though, that life’s not like that. At least not anymore. Our global consciousness has shifted to take in the very REAL fact that, if we keep going like this, we’re just not going to have a world to call ours anymore.

Our children will be the ones to bear the brunt of our (and our parents) poor environmental decisions. It’s a daunting prospect and one that certainly can fill you with fear. However, it’s in their hands (and they look like very small hands indeed) to make a difference.

Supporting companies and politicians who include sustainable practices in their MO’s is a great way to push back against the tide of waste and filth. Undergoing plastic and energy conscious mindsets in the home is a brilliant way to inspire young minds to follow on with this good work outside of the domestic sphere. Organising classmates and schools to recycle, returning cans on a can collect scheme (this also teaches kids about earning money), encouraging others to be more mindful. If we work with our children in regards to sustainable practices within the home, we will see these ideas multiply 1000 times out in the real world.

Energy Saving Tips for Kids

Think global, act local. Have you got any key sustainability or energy saving tips that you use in your own home? We’d love to add them to the list!

 



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