Teaching your kids life lessons is not always the easiest thing to do. It seems to be even harder when the consequences of the lessons don’t directly affect them or conflict with their interests. Far too often that’s how it feels when it comes time to discuss the importance of saving energy.
It can be a struggle, as explaining where and how your children will need to cut back to keep your energy bill under control becomes synonymous with “no more fun”. The good news is that it does not have to be like this. You can help your kids understand ways to save energy while keeping things enjoyable and more importantly, saving money.
To help you do so, consider these easy tips that will reduce your energy output while keeping day-to-day life unchanged:
1. Turn Off The Lights
There’s something about being a child makes us completely oblivious to the fact we need to hit lights off. What’s worse is that if we do not know when the lights are on, like if they’re lit on the second floor, and we’re on the first, it could be a while before we find out. That means you’ll likely see a nice little tick up in that electric bill.
Some parents have combatted this by being a constant voice in their child’s ear, reminding them of it each time they leave a room. Others have found success using different methods.
2. Use Rechargeable Batteries in Their Toys
Purchasing rechargeable batteries is an easy way for you to save serious energy that beats the hassle of having to constantly buy new batteries. Though there is a larger upfront cost than for their non-rechargeable counterparts, standard rechargeable batteries can be re-energized as many as 500 times. That means that in just a few uses they will pay for themselves. Also, rechargeable batteries don’t experience the same gradual decline as other standard batteries, so their overall performance is better.
Along with those benefits, making the switch to rechargeable batteries will give you the opportunity to teach your kids basic handyman skills – like how to use a screwdriver and put the batteries in. This can be a big step towards independence for kids, so allowing them to take charge of battery replacement can act as a milestone that also saves you money in the process. Who’d have thought their toys could be such a great teaching tool?
3. Turn Off the Video games and Play Outside
While your children spend hours barricaded indoors playing on consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One, it is your energy bill that is feeling it the most. Video game consoles are energy hogs, running up a tab even when you’re not playing them. And while the electric costs are adding up, they’re nothing compared to the bonding time you miss out on with your children.
There’s a very simple solution: Teach your kids how to have a good time outside. You can make it a seasonal activity, so maybe in the colder months, it’s hockey and snowball fights, while in the summer and the spring you can play soccer and shoot some hoops. The quality time and physical activity can help ingrain your kids with healthy habits and can even inspire a love for certain activities and sports. What’s more, they’re not cooped up inside all day running up the electric bill!
4. Use LED Lights instead of Incandescent Lights
LEDs are an incredibly efficient lighting alternative that is almost like using no electricity at all. These lights use about half as much electricity as their fluorescent, incandescent, and even halogen-based substitutes, guaranteeing you big savings.
The usual lifespan of an LED is around 30,000-50,000 hours, dwarfing the typical incandescent bulb’s 1,000 hour lifetime. As incandescent and other types of bulbs are gradually phased out, it is important to teach your kids about LEDs versus CFLs. You can even talk about the “old days” and the advantages LEDs have over incandescent lights.
Consider buying your kids LED flashlights and play hide N seek, tell scary stories, or read their favourite books. Making LEDs apart of your everyday life will establish them as the acceptable norm for your kids and put some dollars back into your pocket.
5. Reduce Vampire Energy
Sorry to say it, but energy vampires suck your energy 365 ¼ days per year. We’re referring to appliances you leave plugged in. This could be your laptop charger, a video game console, or maybe a charger for your kid’s toys. It’s called the phantom load or vampire power and it refers to electricity consumed by devices that have been turned off but remain plugged in.
Though the phantom load does have its benefits like allowing for quick and easy power-up, as well as maintaining certain settings that you have programmed into devices, some findings suggest that it makes up roughly 10% of your energy bill each month. Put a stake in vampire power by teaching your children that even the small things count. Review with them which devices should remain plugged in and which can be unplugged.