Starting early and teaching your kids about power use means you’ll instil positive values in them, encourage them to connect their behaviour to their impact on the environment, and show them how to achieve goals. It might sound like a lot to learn for someone so young, but kids are smart little creatures. And, as all parents know, they are often mirrors of our own behaviour.
If you make an effort to save power around the house, and make it fun, naturally they will want to join, too. Choose games, responsibilities and challenges over nagging, when possible!
Lessons to teach kids about power use
1. There is plenty to do without using technology
Are your young ones constantly glued to their screens? Aim to teach and remind them that switching off from electronics and partaking in activities off-screen can be just as enjoyable. Let them take charge and pick the activity. It might be a board game, a walk on the beach, a swim, or a trip to the park. Or simply let them have free reign in the backyard (trampolines are a bonus here).
2. To watch out for the energy standby monster
Teach your kids to turn their PlayStation/game console, appliances, etc, off at the wall. To do this without nagging? Turn it into a game and tell them to be on the watch for the Standby Monster with his green flashing eyes, in the form of gadgets that haven’t been switched off. Small rewards, like a treat or stickers, can go a long way in encouraging them to flick off the switch.
3. That heat pumps and air con are electricity guzzlers
Kids spending a lot more time at home over holidays can lead to overuse of heat pumps and aircon. Tell them how heat pumps can be cheeky power guzzlers that need to be controlled by managing the temperature.
Give your children the responsibility of becoming temperature monitors and make sure they keep the heat under a certain temperature. Set the temperature between 18-22C for a heat pump. Running a heat pump at 26C uses 50% more power than at 21C, so avoid cranking it up.
Other games to make electricity saving fun
Make turning-off gadgets and savings targets a challenge
You could list some ways to save power on a whiteboard and challenge your kids to achieve these goals. Include things like closing doors to keep heat in for winter, turning off things off at the socket, turning lights off in their rooms and taking shorter showers.
Involve them in power-saving activities
Kids love to help. Have them help out by setting up automatic timers for switching off lights. And when you’re out shopping for new appliances, ask your kids to help find the best-rated appliances. Tell them about Energy Star Ratings. Also, have them help with basic things like choosing the washing machine eco setting, putting it on a cold wash, etc, and explain how this helps.
Design a power-friendly play space together
Get your young ones involved in turning their bedroom or playroom into an electricity-efficient space. Involve your kids in the project, or let them take charge themselves if they’re older. You can help them upgrade light bulbs to energy-efficient ones, stop draughts on doors and windows and choose shade options for windows in summer.
Make Earth Hour a regular event
Earth Hour is usually in March. This is when people across the world switch off their lights to help the planet. Why not turn this eco-friendly event into a fun thing to do with the kids on a weekly or monthly basis? Have a candlelit picnic in the garden, or go camping (even in your yard) for the weekend.
The best way to save on power?
Make sure you’re with the right provider. It’s always a good time to compare electricity providers to find out who does what! Plus, you could be getting a cheaper deal elsewhere. This is where Canstar can help. Every year we compare and rate electricity providers, so you can check your options easily:
Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction and value for money. The table below is an abridged version of our full results. Click on the big button below for more details!
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2022, published in June 2022.
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