Friday, November 20, 2009

Getting Your Kids to Help Save the Planet!

Sometimes it's hard for me to get the kids out of BED much less care about what's going on outside.  I mean, when texting and the telephone are the main focus of a teen's life, who cares about anything else, right?  Make my bed what?  Take a shower when? Clean my room HOW? UGH!  C'mon!  You're a slavedriver!  Yep.  That's what it's like...

What about the younger kids (like my 6 year old) who are just eager to please, but have other things on their minds like "where's the cat?" and "Have you seen my green sweatpants that I've worn 15 times this week?" 

So how do you get them to help out and make sure that their kids will have a clean place to play free of pollutants and ickiness?  Well, let me tell you - it's not by grounding them or sending them to their rooms (full of XBox's, TV's, PSP's, iPod's.... etc etc etc). 

Make it EASY!!  Yes.  Don't make it so that it's a chore. In our house, recycling is a part of daily life. There is a plastic recycling trash can right next to the cabinet where the regular trash is kept.  It's a plain white open can that ONLY plastic goes into.  So, easy to see!  It can also be a game (who can put the most plastic in here?) or it can be a part of daily chores (if I see you throwing plastic away, you'll be docked some commissions).  But the main thing is MAKE IT EASY and accessible!  Especially for the teens!

What about turning off the lights?  My stepson comes from a house where they leave lights on at all times.  So when he came to live with us, wow.  What a shocker that when we leave a room we turn off the lights!  So what I do is as I'm doing my daily chores, and I see a light on, I'll just casually walk by him and say "hey, who's in your room?" and continue walking by.  At first he would ignore me.  Then I would say it again "Seriously, is there someone in your room?  What do we do when we leave a room?"  He now thinks that it's annoying and gets up and turns it off ... better yet - he turns off his light when he LEAVES the room!  So tip #2 is -

Be annoying.  *smile*

How about those LLLOOOOONNNNGGG showers??  Set a timer in the bathroom and make it a game.  "Who can take the fastest shower and STILL wash every stinky part of their body??!"  Surprisingly, it works.  Seriously!  Another good way to get them to take a short shower?  About 5 minutes in, go into the bathroom and throw a pitcher of ice cold water on them from over the top of the shower.  Not only will it give you a GREAT laugh, but I bet they'll be more cautious on shower times! 

So I think that tip #3 is be annoying too.  Or overzealous.  I'm not sure....

Next, how do you help those kids be helpful to their planet?  Lead by example and start young!  My son has been helping out around the house since he was a toddler.  It started simple, but he has learned more and more on how to be conservative.  He has learned from watching me as well - turning off lights, putting on sweaters in the winter, using ceiling fans and other fans during the summer... You name it - he learns!

Make sure you talk about the importance in terms that aren't nagging.  Casually mention WHY you recycle.  Or WHY you turn off the lights.  Mention the purpose of handwashing dishes and taking shorter showers.  Using the method of explaining while doing sort of allows them to embrace the information and move forward in making their own decisions with YOU (their leader and embracer) leading the pack.  Don't let the duties slide.

Start small and work up with older kids.  We all know how stubborn they can be (oh don't we?!!). 

Finally, let them know that being eco-friendly doesn't have to be all humdrum and boring.  Grab some SediluGreen EcoStuffers to reduce your plastic waste and be fun at lunch or on the go! 


SediluGreen - where eco friendly is FUN AND FASHIONABLE!!

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