Stop nagging your kids to turn off the lights or TV or water when they’re finished with them. Instead, make them official officers in your energy-efficiency “police force.” Or soldiers in your “environmental army.” Or even kings and queens of the Land of Low Electricity Bills.
If you want your kids to help you in your quest to save energy, make it fun.
Spend an afternoon decorating badges that declare they are in charge of “Operation: Save Energy.” Then, take them on a “raid” of the house, looking for ways your family is wasting energy. Explain that when they hold the refrigerator door open or leave the front door ajar when they run outside, they are forcing your appliances or air conditioner to suck more electricity out of the outlet. Then put them in charge of “policing” others in the family who use energy inefficiently.
Here are some ways to make it fun to save energy:
- Set up an energy-efficiency obstacle course. Send your kids on a race through the house to find other family members or friends acting out energy-wasting activities. Tell your kids they have to find culprits in each room and correct the energy wasters before they can move on. Time them as they inspect each room and award points each time they correct an offending action.
- Each week, post a chart on the refrigerator and tally each time a family member gets caught wasting energy. The person with the fewest tallies on Friday night gets to pick the movie.
- Illustrate the monetary savings of conserving energy by setting up an energy piggy bank. Give your kids a penny each time they do something to save energy. Take one away each time they leave a light on or leave their video games running. For older kids, give them a small bonus on their allowance each month they help lower the household energy bill.
- Help your kids find games and other educational sources on the internet that teach them about energy savings.
If you make saving energy a game rather than a chore, you might get your kids excited about your cause. Soon enough, they’ll be correcting you when you forget to flip the switch.