No matter how young they are, it's never too soon to start teaching your children about the importance of saving energy and getting them involved in 'being green'.
Helping them understand the basics while they are young will not only keep you in control of your bills today, but will allow you to develop these skills further as the kids grow and become more aware of the concept of saving energy tomorrow.
1) Close the door behind you
OK so this might not always be practical depending on how old they are, but the concept is important. Especially when the air-con is on, so start with the front door; closing from the inside it is easier for little ones to push to close rather than needing to reach for the handle to pull it closed. Just watch for their little fingers.
2) Use Draft Excluders on external doors
You may not already have these, but they are a fun addition that can teach children about heat loss in or out of the home. They can often be bought made in the shape of a snake but can be made at home with your child as a great art activity either out of an old stocking or even an old pillow filling with some buttons added for eyes. Each night before they go to bed, get into a routine of 'Putting the snakes to bed' in their home by the door.
3) If it's cold outside, wear more clothes.
It often surprises me when my adult friends wonder around their homes wearing T-Shirts and Shorts in the winter while having their air conditioning or heaters cranked right up. It's so unnecessary when another layer of clothes could be all they need! Get your children used to putting on more clothes during the winter months. Teach them that Winter is the season for 'Warm Clothes' and get them to dress their teddies or dolls (depending on their age) in winter outfits too. Getting them used to this concept when young might stop them from grabbing for the air-con remote quite as quickly as they get older!
4) Spot the Light Left On!
No matter what time of year it is, it's easy to forget to turn your lights off when you're in a rush to get to work and get your kids to school, especially if you don't use skylights. Younger children may not all be able to reach for the switch themselves, but that doesn't mean they can't be encouraged to spot any lights left on. If necessary give them a lift up to help them switch off the light themselves, or have a stool handy for the more independent ones.
5) Dancing in the rain? Then wear your rubber boots & raincoat!
Not only is this common sense because it keeps them warmer
but, even on summer days it helps protect any other clothes they may be wearing; why wash a load of clothes if you don't need to?! And if they're wearing more clothes due to the cold weather, that's double the amount of clothes that needs to be washed & dried! All kids love to play in the mud & puddles, but if we can encourage them to be better equipped for this type of play then it really will save time & money when it comes to cleaning up after them.
These are just some ideas of course, I'm sure you could come up with more interesting suggestions for how children can help save energy every day. We'd love to hear from you if you have found something that has really worked in your home!