Instilling green habits in kids is a challenge. Getting kids to slow down, unplug and embrace responsibility for the environment, however, has many rewards. Not only will it create sustainable habits that will come in handy when kids reach adulthood, a kid going green also saves you money. Use creativity to make it easier for children to adjust to green lifestyle changes.
The Three Rs
Teach kids the three Rs–reduce, reuse and recycle. Kids can make a few daily habit changes to have a large impact on the environment. Letting water run when brushing teeth wastes this dwindling resource. Kids can help save about 8 gallons of water everyday just by turning off the faucet when brushing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Shorter showers with less hot water save energy and water. Stainless steel water bottles make an ideal reusable replacement to plastic bottled water. Use refillable pens and pencils to reduce waste. Have kids sort through old clothes and toys to donate to charity. Recycling these items keeps them out of landfills and helps others.
A few changes in everyday practices can save money and resources. A computer and its monitor uses approximately 270 watts an hour, costing more than $33 per year when on just 4 hours every day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. When not in use, turn it off. Have kids make use of the computer’s sleep mode. It uses less than a quarter of the power in this mode. Many kids have the habit of leaving things on, like the TV and lights. Stress the importance of turning off appliances for energy savings. Plug appliances into power strips and teach kids to flip the switch. Invest in rechargeable batteries for any toys, flashlights, cameras and other electronics.
Assign kids a green home project. Have them research the ways they can go green, as well as what parents can do. Then you can compromise on what steps each member of the family will take. Setting an example by doing a few green improvements will help motivate kids to go green. Empower kids by letting them learn the advantages, the monetary savings and the environmental benefits of making green changes at home. Create a chart to track energy and water savings for each family member and any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Make it a contest to gain green savings points to exchange for eco-friendly rewards.
- recycle smile image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com