With everything your kids have going on – homework, chores, imaginary space adventures – helping the environment may not immediately capture their attention (unless they’re really into Captain Planet). But, that doesn’t mean you can’t convince them to lend a helping hand. With a little bit of creativity and some subtle incentivizing, you can turn your little ones into responsible eco-champions that help take pollution down to zero!
Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Buy cool light switch faceplates. One of the best ways to conserve energy in your home is to turn off unnecessary lights in empty rooms. This is pretty easy for adults to remember, but for kids it’s sort of like asking them to memorize the periodic table of elements. To help things along, try buying a faceplate with their favorite superhero on it. Tell them Batman is watching to make sure they hit the lights!
2. Turn shower time into a race. If you can shorten each shower in your household by just a minute or two, you’ll save up to 150 gallons of water per month. To help speed things along, try timing your kids in the shower and offering little rewards if they beat their previous time (this is a great opportunity for some friendly sibling rivalry, too). Just be sure to check behind their ears to make sure they aren’t skimping on personal hygiene for the sake of a prize.
3. Put a note near the bathroom faucet. Making sure your kids shut the faucet off while they're brushing their teeth is another great way to conserve water, but it can be hard for them to remember when they’re still groggy in the morning. So, throw a little reminder somewhere near the faucet to jog their memory.
4. Enforce a charger rule. If your kids have their own cell phone, computer or iPad, they also have a bunch of chargers! Even when they’re not plugged into a device, chargers continue to sap electricity, so it’s best to unplug them when they’re not in use. If you have trouble getting this rule to stick, you could try docking your kid’s allowance for every idle charger you find (tough love!).
5. Put them in control. One of the best ways to motivate your kids is to put the power in their hands. Put your kids in charge of your household’s recycling process. This is a great way for your kids to learn more about the importance of recycling, as well as the specific requirements for your area. Plus, you won’t have to sort through all of your cans and plastics anymore!