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Teach Kids to Cut Energy Costs at Home

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Energy costs are hitting our pocketbook and Mom is feeling the pain. Nagging the kids about saving energy doesn't seem to make the point at our house. I've thought of making them pay me a quarter every time they leave the light on in their rooms. While punishment does work when parents are around, kids need to learn and internalize the energy-saving habit.

Energy-Saving Habit of the Week

Start small with one family energy-saving effort each week. When you make it a cooperative family effort, kids feel a sense of competence and belonging each time they take action to save energy. These are some of the simple changes you can try in your home. Print one with your word processor and post it in the house as a reminder.

  • Turn off lights and electronics when you leave a room. Keep doors to unused rooms closed.
  • In summer, use the microwave, crockpot, or toaster oven instead of the stove/oven. When using the stove/oven, keep lids on pots on the stove, match pot to burner size, and don't preheat the oven for too long.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Take five-to-ten minute showers instead of baths.
  • Wash and dry full loads of clothes only. Wash on cool setting. Line dry many items. Do the laundry at night, not in the heat of the day.
  • Don't hold the refrigerator door open!
  • Change incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent CFL bulbs. If you replace 25 percent of your light bulbs with fluorescents, you can save up to 50 percent on your lighting bill.
  • In summer, close drapes, use fans, and turn thermostat up to 78-80 degrees. In winter, open drapes and turn thermostat down to 68-70 degrees.
  • Consolidate errands and cut out some car usage. Walk, ride your bikes, carpool, or get a scooter.

Kid Printables and Projects to Teach Energy-Saving Habits

Print a coloring book or project that teaches kids ways to conserve energy. Older kids can use the Energy Scavenger Hunt or follow the Energy Hog activities to learn about energy sources and conservation. Find more printable activities that teach energy facts and conservation for kids.

Find more ideas for saving energy and green family living at these favorite web sites and blogs.

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