The whole concept of climate change and global warming can be scary to children if not taught or conveyed properly. This is why parents need to be at the forefront of providing their kids with the facts without sounding like a doomsday scenario. Here are some special DIY projects and practices that parents can do with their kids to teach them the value of conserving energy and general sustainable living.
Use visual aids to explain the concept.
Visual learning is a crucial part of teaching kids complex concepts like climate change. It helps kids engage better with the lesson, increases their attention and retention by 29% to 40%, helps them conceptualize clearly, and enhances their ability to recall the facts. It’s one thing to explain to them the idea of carbon emissions and how it harms our planet. Using words is important. Still, the medium is always the message, especially when it comes to teaching kids. Exercise your creative muscle and lookup illustrations online that you can copy, or you can download books and other resources online that you can incorporate into your lesson.
Create a reward system for energy and water conservation.
Now that you have finally explained why it’s important to conserve energy, help them put what they’ve learned into practice right away by launching a competition or reward system for them. Here are some ideas for how this can go down:
Use a big whiteboard to list down ways to conserve energy and challenge your children to achieve these tasks. This can include the following:
- Closing doors when the heater or AC is switched on
- Turning off appliances and electronics when not in use
- Unplugging said appliances and electronics
- Taking shorter showers
- Limiting their gadget use
- Opening the door of the fridge only once every time they have to take something out
- Encouraging them to play outside instead of video games all-day
- Conserving water when they brush their teeth or wash their hands
You can assign points to every task; the harder the task, the higher the points. You can also give them a visual representation of their success by adding a star next to their name or giving them a certificate of recognition. You can also provide them with a concrete goal: If your energy bill reaches a certain amount, tell them you will give them a special reward, a toy or a snack they love.
But it doesn’t always have to be a competition or a goal; the most important part is practicing what you preach. Encourage your kids to read a book with you in the sunroom or to play with you in the backyard instead of looking at screens all day. When they see you doing it and having fun, they might be more inclined to follow suit.
Plant a garden.
Another project that you can pursue together is gardening. Even if you don’t have a huge front yard or backyard, you and your kids can still care for some houseplants or create a vertical garden. Gardens are a beautiful and natural way to help the environment, no matter how small or big they are, and even if they’re just in a container. Planting a garden can also teach your child to be responsible for another living thing and the value of your planet’s natural resources. You can also grow food and produce together, like vegetables and herbs. It’s also a great way to teach kids to take pride in something they created.
Pursue energy-conserving projects.
If you’re making upgrades in your home to allow for more energy efficiency, let your kids be involved in these processes. For example, heat control window films are an ideal way to conserve energy since it allows natural light to come in without the sun’s harmful effects. While they’re getting installed, explain to your kids why vitamin D from the sun is good for them while explaining the harmful effects of UV rays and how the window film will allow your household to cut costs on your energy expenses.
Another project you can do together is shopping for new appliances for the home. You can ask your kids to help you research the best-rated appliances that are energy-efficient. Involve them in the process of doing laundry and take the time to teach them basic practices like choosing the washing machine setting and explaining how it helps the planet, and have them join you as you hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
The Bottom Line
Since your kids are spending most of their days at home, now is a great time to teach them an invaluable lesson on caring for the planet. So don’t miss out on this teachable moment, and help save the planet in the process.