When my 6-year-old son recently complained about the shower being too cold, I couldn’t help but blurt out:
“When I was your age we didn’t have hot water all the time…”
Yeah, one of those.
As a kid growing up in India, I remember taking more than my fair share of cold baths. Showers were considered a wasteful luxury. The norm for bathing, in most households was (you better believe it) a bucket and a mug.
Drinking water would only be available for an hour each in the morning and evening, so we took turns to fill up bottles to last the day.
We were used to power outages at school or home. They were a part of life, and yes, we survived. They were actually a great excuse to get together with the neighborhood kids and play in candlelight.
My dad would always remind me to turn off the faucet while brushing my teeth and turn off the lights when leaving a room. I have carried these habits through life in the United States for more than a decade now.
So, when I see my children being wasteful, it upsets me to no end. It’s hard to teach your kids about precious resources when they are so readily available. But I do my best.
And, I love it when my friends suggest ways (ever so gently) for even me to not be wasteful.
For example, I would dump water from my kids’ water bottles at the end of the day. Why not use it to water the plants instead? Or pour it in the steam iron. Or your puppy’s bowl.
Just don’t let it go down the drain.
It’s not hard to find ideas on how to teach children conservation.
SRP partners with the local nonprofit group, Water – Use it Wisely, which has an entire section on its website loaded with tips and lesson plans to teach the young ones around you how to save water and energy. I’m definitely going to use the water activity pages for kids, full of fun puzzles and matching games that help reinforce these ideas without it seeming like a chore.
And, if cartoons are the only way to grab their attention, our adorable energy hog should do the job. Who doesn’t want to learn from a hog that’s sleepy, hungry or frozen?
If you’re an educator, SRP also offers age-appropriate and engaging educational materials, including coloring and activity books.
For me, Earth Day is a good reminder to reinforce some of those water and energy-saving habits in my kids. The earlier they are taught, the more they are likely to learn these habits for life.