How many times do you walk in a room where the lights are on but no one is there? It’s so easy to flip the switch and yes, we’re spoiled by the instant light. I wonder what it was like to light a lamp, clean a lamp, carry a lamp, when you needed light. And if the electricity goes off and we’re left in the dark, we don’t like it one bit.
Lights are a simple place to start the energy use conversation with your kids. Have the kids go through the house and count all the ceiling lights and lamps. Then put a glass jar labeled “lights” and a dish of paper clips or pennies on the kitchen counter. Every time someone turns off a light she puts a penny in the jar. Every time Mom or Dad enter an empty room and find a light left on, they take a penny out of the jar. Try this activity for a week and see how full the jar gets. This is a visible way for everyone to keep track of this habit.
Another idea is to take the kids with you to the store to look at light bulbs. Help them compare incandescent, fluorescent and LED products. The kids will be amazed at the options.If you haven’t started converting light bulbs, decide as a family where to begin. Maybe the kids will want to try new products in their rooms.
What have you done in your family to tackle the “lights left on” problem?
Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.
Children often see no reason to conserve their boundless personal energy when they’re running or playing. Likewise, they seem to think electricity is in endless supply when they stand in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open. During National Energy Awareness Month in October, we will talk about getting kids to understand the impacts of their energy use. What they are doing now by conserving or not conserving energy is likely how they will live as adults. As parents we have the opportunity and responsibility to help them understand how energy usage impacts the world in which we live.
This month we’ll blog about some of the ways we can help our children be energy conscious and gain ideas on ‘living lighter’.
Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.