Kids aren't always aware of how many resources they use each day, so they wander through life using them freely. As they become older, it's beneficial to teach kids about taking care of Mother Earth and understanding the impact they make in this world. Create ways that challenge your children to nurture the planet we live on. Consider using the following tips:
1) Refrain from Using Too Much Water
It is a good idea to show children and teenagers how much water they're letting go to waste. It's fine to use water for things that are necessary, but it is never a good idea to run water just because you can. Kids need to understand this, and you can show them a visual of what it means to use water in excess. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, showering is one of the leading ways we use water in the home. The next time your kid gets ready to take a shower, use a stopper to close the drain. This will show them how much water they use to take a shower. Also, let kids know that shower time includes the time it takes for the water to get to a comfortable temperature. Discuss ways they can take steps to reduce the duration of their shower time. Teens love helping with ideas and projects, so why not install a high-tech water leak detector to help them monitor excessive water waste in the home.
2. Teach Kids About Preparation
This generation has an abundance of convenience at their disposal. Single-serve and individually wrapped food packages cause more waste. Show your kids how to prepare and make items that will be easy to grab when they're on the go. Place refillable water bottles in the fridge for convenience. Use reusable containers for snacks, and kids can also learn how to make their own fruit cups. Kids can also measure out individual portions from bulk items. Purchasing in bulk helps to save on additional packaging and reduces waste.
3. Unplug Power Cords
Explain to kids how they can save energy by unplugging unused devices. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, many appliances can’t be completely turned off except by unplugging them. When devices are turned off, they don't use electricity. Nowadays, teens are plugged into more gadgets than you can imagine. Have them unplug energy consumers such as chargers, printers, and radios. Since the average cell phone charges in less than a couple hours, encourage kids to refrain from charging overnight. This leads to the charger being plugged into the wall longer than necessary.
4. Consolidate Trips
As a parent, I know the all too familiar last-minute requests. Teens somehow wait until the very last minute to let their parents know about the things they need. This results in multiple trips to the store. Minimizing trips to the store helps protect our planet by reducing emissions. Ask your kid to go over their schedule and supply lists with you, and use this to determine what can be purchased in one trip to the store. Not only will this save gas in your car, but it will reduce repeated trips to the store.
5. Make it a Competition
Continue to challenge your kids to find ways to reduce their footprint on the environment. Why not make it a friendly family competition, and reward those that take measures to reduce waste. You can also have the kids work on a recycling project together. Make it a routine to challenge each other to become better each day at protecting our planet. Remember to discuss how simple actions and choices can reap consequences or rewards. There are lots of ways kids and teens can work together to protect the planet we love so much.