Whether you have one, two, three or more kids, one of the first things that you need to teach them if you want to run an efficient household is ways to conserve water. Here, we will be enumerating the many ways that you can teach your kids to save water, and why this is a necessary lesson for them to learn in the first place.
Why Should We Teach Kids to Save Water, Anyway?
Before dishing out tips on how you can teach kids to save water, let us first take a look at why it should be done in the first place. Take a look at the following list:
- Less than 1% of all water on Earth can be used for drinking. The rest is salt water or is permanently frozen. As such, it is a must for everyone to do their share in using water wisely.
- In the United States, the average family uses 260 gallons of water per day.
- Americans may have easy access to clean water, but this is not the case in other parts of the world.
- It may seem like water is an infinite source, but it is actually drying up at a very alarming rate.
Despite the fact that clean water can be had on demand by simply turning on the tap, it does not mean that members of a household should not take steps in conserving water. This is especially true for young children who may not realize that water is not an endless resource.
With water sources quickly drying up, now is as good a time as any to teach kids – from the youngest ones to the teenagers – about the importance of conserving water.
Ways to Teach Kids to Save Water
Whether you have toddlers, school-age kids, tweens, teens or older teenagers, there are a multitude of ways that you can teach them to conserve water.
Since your home is where they spend most of their time in, that’s the focus of your lessons. How can each child save water in their own way while doing everyday things inside the house? Take a look at the following list:
Explain to young kids why saving water is important in the first place
Observe which habits of your children do not necessarily contribute to your efforts in conserving water. Does your eldest take very long showers? If yes, explain to him that short showers help save water.
Set up a timer for a pre-set number of minutes so that he can change his habits. The same thing holds true for everyday tasks like brushing their teeth – where they should not allow water to flow freely while they are cleaning their pearly whites. Using a glass of water for the task will do so that no water will be wasted.
Explain to them, especially to the younger kids, that even though water can be had on demand, there are other parts of the world where clean water is not an easy resource – so they should do their share in helping conserve water.
Be a good role model
What better way is there to teach your kids how to conserve water than by being a good role model for them? Take short showers yourself and only use a glass of water when brushing your teeth. Make the younger kids understand how you are doing your share in helping conserve water, so that they can follow suit.
Post reminders around the house to encourage kids to conserve water
Teaching kids how to conserve water should be fun. If you have a couple of school age daughters, teach them how to save H2O by posting colorful signs in the bathroom or the kitchen sink. The signs should remind them to turn the tap off while brushing their teeth, or for them to only take quick showers.
Have the kids help out in household chores and explain to them how you can save water when performing such tasks
When doing the dishes or the laundry, what are the ways that you conserve water? Get the kids to perform minor tasks with you during the weekends and use it as an opportunity to teach them.
Let’s say that dinner is done and your daughter is helping you load the dishwasher. Explain to her how you should only turn on the dishwasher once its load is full so that you can save not just water but electricity as well. Do the same thing while having your son help you out in doing the laundry.
Do science projects with them that teach the value of conserving water
If you have tweens or teenagers, use science as a way of teaching them how to conserve water. A perfect experiment for this is installing a rain barrel. Explain to the kids what happens after rain falls – where does all the water go? Instead of letting the rain water get soaked by the soil, installing a rain barrel is an excellent way to conserve water and treat it as a precious resource.
Rain barrels are placed under downspouts from the roof. After rain, get the kids to visit the spots in the house where the rain barrels are located. Explain to them how you can ‘recycle’ the water and use it to water the plants or even wash the car once the ground has dried up. During drought, no water will be collected by rain barrels so it’s really important to conserve water while there is still supply left.
Also teach them how to save water outside the house.
Parents should also teach their kids how to save water outside the home. In school, their teachers might be imparting lessons on how they can conserve water. What you can do as a parent is provide a water bottle for the kids to take to school every day. Once the water is used up, have your son or daughter fill it back up with water from the drinking fountain instead of just throwing it away. Not only can they conserve water, but they can also get rid of the empty water bottles being thrown away on an almost daily basis.
Online Resources to Help Teach Kids the Value of Conserving Water
To learn more about how you can teach kids about the importance of conserving water, here are some online resources to visit:
For young kids
For young children, there are apps that you can download on your tablet computer which has games and interactive lessons about how to conserve water.
The US’ Environmental Protection Agency dedicates a part of their website in teaching kids how to conserve water. The site has links on the importance of saving water, the simple ways that kids can save water, as well as a link for teachers on how to teach kids the value of conserving this resource.
There’s also a game on site which teaches kids everything there is to know about water. The character is a blue water droplet named Flo, and you can have your kids test their water-saving knowledge by visiting this link.
A perfect online game website for tweens or those who are between the ages of 10 and 12 is here.
It’s a UK-based site which has a game called “The Water Family”. While playing the game, your tweens will learn about individual ways that families can cut back on their water consumption.
When you click on the link for dishwashing, for example, the player will be asked questions like: What is wasted when a half full dishwasher is used? The correct answer is ‘water and energy’.
Once the player gets the correct answer, a piece of the puzzle being solved can be put in place – and there are many other questions that will help tweens learn more about conserving water.
Teenagers can visit a website developed by the Water Education Foundation, which has a fact sheet that explains why saving water is important. Unlike other sites which show up on Google with quick facts about how to conserve water, the facts sheet is laid out in a language and manner that tweens and teenagers will fully understand.
For older teenagers and adults
Finally, older teenagers and even adults can have fun with the Home Tour feature of h2oUSE. The site gives visitors an idea about how to be truly water-efficient. They have a list of the Top 5 Actions to conserve water as well as a collection of tips on what to do during a drought.
The most interesting part of the website is the Home Tour where you can investigate each room in the house and how you can specifically save water. In the kitchen, laundry, bath, basement, patio or garage, how can you conserve water?
If you have a water feature or a swimming pool, how can you make sure that water is not wasted? The site has a detailed list of what homeowners can do to conserve water in different parts of the house.
By visiting these links and following the previous set of tips, you can have all the kids in your household participate in that all-important campaign to conserve water at home.