Whether you're a parent, grandparent, godparent (or the cool aunt / uncle!) you've probably noticed just how observant children are and how often they pick up on more than we expect.
The future of the planet depends on making positive climate choices now and educating and inspiring the next generation is more important than ever.
What we teach them now will affect the planet they inherit.
We’ve shared six practical and child-friendly tips below for helping them understand, get on board and make a difference.
1. Help them understand what energy is and how we use it ⚡
Kids love discovering things and asking questions! “What makes the sun come up?”, “Why is the sky blue?”, “Which animals are awake at night?” “How big is 1 million?”
Make the most of their natural curiosity by getting them involved in the science behind your climate-friendly choices around the home.
What happens when we flick on a light switch or use a heater or fan? Explain where energy comes from, and that every time we turn something on, we use energy to keep it running.
Show them powerlines, solar panels, wind turbines and batteries and explain how they work. Explain the difference between natural resources and fossil fuels.
Give them a project or craft exercise to explain things or go to the library or use the internet to find useful information to share with them.
2. Get the kids involved 💡
We all play a part in making our homes more energy efficient – reducing our bills and our carbon footprint. Take them on the journey with you and involve them in energy audits and choices around what to do.
- If you’ve got a smart meter, show them how it works and what to look out for
- Go on a mission around the house to check for holes, cracks and drafts
- Get them to help you do a check on all the lightbulbs – do they work, are they the right kind (energy efficient)?
- Explain to them about recycling, food waste and general rubbish and get them to help sort them in the different bins
- Get them to help you in the garden – plant herbs and flowers together to they learn about the natural life-cycle of plants and carbon dioxide
- Get them to draw or create colourful reminders to be put in the house about turning off lights, power boards or switches
- Take the kids with you when you’re shopping for appliances and show them how to look at the ratings
- Talk to them about the environment, getting them to tell you what the love most about it and then explain how we impact those environments and ecosystems
- Read child-friendly books about climate action with them
- Encourage kids to turn off lights and close doors to rooms that are not in use
- Time showers and make a game out of who can have the shortest shower (while still getting clean of course)
3. Lead by example 👍
Kids learn most by watching us.
The best way to help them understand and learn is to teach them through what we do.
Show them what we are doing and talk about it. “I’m going to turn the lights off because the sun is up now”, or “Let’s turn the screens off when we’re not using them”, or “how about I put a jumper on before I turn the heating on”.
Show them what you’re doing in the house to reduce your own footprints, using appliances through the day when you have solar, turning things off standby mode, using recyclable bags at the shops, having shorter showers.
4. Make it fun! ⭐
Kids love it when you can make a game out of something and they love when they can call you out on things.
Make a family game out of spotting simple things you can do to save energy. Perhaps they get a star on a chart or one point each for:
- Turning off lights
- Opting for a jumper or blanket instead of a heater
- Closing the fridge properly
- Drinking water and removing a layer instead of using a fan
- Choosing board games, puzzles, or craft instead of power-using activities like tv, computer games or listening to music
5. Find out what they are learning in school and reinforce it at home 🏡
Speak to their teachers and find out what they are learning about the environment, climate change & greenhouse gases, energy sources & efficiency and saving money at school and try to reinforce these things at home.
Listen to what they have learned or have to say about it - their concerns and ideas.
Keep the conversation going and reinforce the importance of the choices we’re all making right now and encourage them to find out more or do some of their own research to take back into the classroom.
6. Find a local tree-planting initiative and make a family day out if it 🌳
There are lots of ways for you to be involved in greening your community and making a difference to your local environment.
Check out Planet Ark's cool site that lets you see the hundreds of community planting events taking place around Australia. Enter your postal code by clicking here to see what's happening in your neighbourhood.
Each Tree Day event will have its own page with more details. Whether planting at a local park, garden, reserve, bushland or foreshore area, there are lots of ways for you to do your part.
Note from Planet Ark: New sites are added daily, if there is not a site listed near you today return to site mid July as majority of sites will be registered by then.
We can help you!
If you’re interested in learning more about the areas where you can improve the energy efficiency in your home, we can help.
Enova Community’s team of volunteer energy coaches are available to households again this year to give you guidance on improving your home’s energy efficiency. We’re passionate about this because finding ways to use less energy allows everyone to take immediate action on reducing their carbon emissions.
You can book a session with us here.