7 tips to get your whole family involved in saving energy

Everything is easier when the whole family pitches in. So why not involve everyone in your household with conserving natural resources – while saving money and having fun? These tips will help you ease the load on the planet as well as your family budget.

  1. Make it easy. Clearly labeled recycling bins can help even very young children join in. Create weekly “reminders” (that sounds better than “chores list”)  and put them on your family calendar. The Energy Action Plan for Kids and Energy Star Kids page are great examples of simple, actionable steps that everyone can take.
  2. Make it fun. Free coloring books, stickers, games  and fun crafts projects from  recycled items are easy to find online. KidsBeGreen, Kids for Saving the Earth, Nickelodeon’s The Big Green Help and the Department of Energy’s Kids Saving Energy site are great places to start.
  3. Tailor projects to everyone’s skills and interests. Start the conversation by asking for everyone’s ideas on how they can help. Science-minded family members can track energy usage, handy types can build compost bins and raised beds for gardens, and the artists in the family can paint posters and get involved in recycling crafts projects.
  4. Focus on the why. Helping kids understand the environmental issues facing our planet is the best way to encourage participation. Watch nature programs together. Visit a landfill. Help them understand where electricity comes from.
  5. Get visual. Track energy saving  results with stickers, posters and graphs displayed where everyone can see. This Energy Hog Challenge is a very funny, visual way for kids to understand energy issues, find out what they can do and track the results of their efforts.
  6. Offer incentives. Kids respond best when they see clear benefits, and it doesn’t have to be money. As you chart the energy that your household is saving, be sure to chart how much money your family is saving, as well. Then set fun goals related to the money that’s being saved: family outings, a new video game, pizza parties or whatever your family enjoys most.
  7. Talk it up. Bring up energy and environmental issues at the family table. Encourage your kids to research conservation and share their thoughts and findings. Have your kids create energy-saving reminder signs to post around the house, like “Please turn off this light!”

How do you get your family involved in conserving energy? Please share your tips in the comments below. And be sure to subscribe to the DE Blog to receive year-round tips on saving energy all around your home!

Thanks to Flickr user Jessica Reeder