Switch off and play: Top energy saving lessons for your kids

Monday, 18 January 2016

Posted by Shubhda Khanna Nag

Are your kids spending most of their time in front of the telly? With the laptop plugged in and the aircon cranked up the whole day because it’s “sooo hot”? Unless you’re prepared for a big energy bill, it’s a smart idea to give the kids a lesson in energy saving.

Before you get started, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the kids are probably not going to be thrilled by the idea of mum and dad’s home tutorials. But the good news is we’ve already done some homework for you and can help you make this a fun activity, rather than something boring you’re forcing them to do.

Here are five lessons that can teach your little ones all about energy saving:

Lesson #1: There’s so much to do when you go off technology

The best way to teach your “always-connected” kids that switching off from electronics and partaking in family activities can actually be enjoyable is by letting them take charge. Fix an hour a day when the whole family has to go technology-free and let them pick what to do.

Whether they decide on a game night of Monopoly or Jingo, or a walk in the park, they’ll learn the lesson that there are countless things to do when you’re not watching Nickelodeon or playing the latest version of Minecraft.

Lesson #2: Standby mode is an energy monster

Here’s some trivia that might interest you as a parent - according to Lumo Energy, turning the gaming console off at the wall instead of simply pressing the power button could save you approximately $160 per year off your electricity bill!

But simply telling your kids that leaving gadgets on standby can increase your electricity bill, is unlikely to catch their attention. Instead, try turning it into a game and tell them to be on the lookout for the ‘Standby Monster’ in the form of gadgets that haven’t been switched off. Small rewards, like their favourite treats, could go a long way in encouraging them to flick the switch off.

Lesson #3: Cold showers are the best for summer days

Summer may have kicked in but long hot showers never really go out of season. This summer, encourage short and cold showers - they’re good for your energy bill and are known to increase alertness and improve immunity and circulation. Try making a competition out of it by timing showers and declaring the ‘short shower winner’ at the end of the week.

Wondering if it’s worth the effort? Showering accounts for more than half of the hot water use in your home. According to EnergyAustralia, if everyone in the family takes showers of four minutes or less, you could slash your water heating costs by up to 20%.

Lesson #4: Aircons are naughty electricity guzzlers

Kids spending a lot more time at home over the summer holidays, can lead to an overuse of the air conditioner. If telling them to shut the aircon is not an option, tell them how air conditioners can be naughty power guzzlers that need to be controlled by managing the temperature. Give your kids the responsibility of becoming temperature monitors by setting the thermostat between 25ºC and 27ºC.

With heating and cooling accounting for nearly 40% of your energy bill, this can be quite a useful exercise. In fact, according to YourHome, the government website on environmentally sustainable homes, each degree of extra heating in winter or cooling in summer increases energy consumption by about 5-10%.

Lesson #5: Small steps can make a big difference

You know one of the best things about kids? They’re quick learners! Tell them how their small actions can affect the environment and you’ll see their enthusiasm to contribute their little bit for nature (and your bill!). Keep them engaged with interactive energy games and news to keep their interest alive beyond just the summer holidays.

And if you’re looking for more ways to save on your energy bill yourself, check out our step-by-step guide on how to switch and slash your energy bill.

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