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Monday, July 8, 2013

Ways to teach kids about saving energy

Let’s face it – the reason we’re all so worried about global warming is that we want to ensure the best possible future for our children. What good is instilling them with values, or leaving behind a strong economy (or in our case, not even that) at the expense of the environment?

If drastic measures aren’t taken soon to curb carbon emissions and energy consumption, our children are going to have a plethora of problems to deal with beyond the debate: is global warming real, or a hoax?

Yes, they’ll be burdened with year-long droughts. Disease. The extinction of entire species of animals.  Civil upheaval. War. They’ll scratch and claw for the few remaining resources: from the last bottle of water to the last drop of oil. Society as we know will cease to exist for our children’s children.

The question is: can we do anything to prevent this future?

Of course we can! But it starts with educating our children so they understand the importance of saving energy wherever they can. No, I’m not talking about nagging them with things like, “Shut the door! What, were you born in a barn?” Rules are good, but it’s more about teaching your children to want to save energy. Not because they’re supposed to, but because they understand that it’s the right thing to do.

Here are a few suggestions on how you can make education fun.

  • Involve the entire family! Agree to a regularly scheduled time of electricity-free entertainment starting once or twice a week. You can play a card or board game. Finish a puzzle. Have a catch outside. Ride bikes. Go for a hike. Or see what local activities and events your community has to offer. But before you turn the electricity off, make sure your children understand why you’re doing it. A little sacrifice goes a long way.

  • Check out your local library. Have your children take out a book about the environment or energy. The key is to make them want to learn more. Illustrated books are fun, and it’s something you can do together.
  • Chores don’t always have to be burdensome, you know. The next time you’re doing laundry, take your children outside with you to hang clothes to dry. Explain to them how it saves money and how the sun is a great, all-natural source of energy.
  • Involve your children in designing their own energy-efficient bedrooms. It will give them a chance to be creative and they’ll feel as if you’re given them more responsibility. Use the opportunity to show them how caulking windows and installing motion-sensing lights cut down on electricity.
  • No kid really likes showering. Sure, they go along with it – but only because their parents say so. Make it a race to see who can shower in the shortest time (upon completing a smell check to make sure they actually used soap). Saving water is good for the environment and easier on your wallet.
  • If you can make a game of it – do it! That’s the rule. Children love games. They love competing. They love being evaluated and timed. Give them a point every time they recognize an energy-wasting habit or appliance. After ten points, reward them with a pizza party and have them invite some of their friends. That way, you can start getting more kids excited about saving energy.
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