I am constantly having to go behind my children and turn off the lights. They don't know where energy comes from or even have a vague idea of it's cost. They just know that I am constantly complaining about them leaving the lights on when they leave a room. I have tried to explain that when we use our lights, computers, television or anything else that requires electricity, that mommy and daddy have to pay money. This of course baffles them, especially KiKi, because as a very "wired" family we are constantly using energy it seems with little care.
We are however very conscious when the bill appears in the post. Of course the children never see that bit.
My oldest daughter, LaLa, however has become a bit more conscious about the effects of energy use now that she is a bit older. They have an eco-team at their school and the team is constantly sharing new ways to be a little more green with the school. LaLa has taken on board many of the lessons that she has learned through the eco-team and brought them home to share with the family. We are now very good at recycling and reusing items. She has also learned that energy is not just a infinite resource and has started inquiring more and more about ways to save energy as a way to be more environmentally friendly.
There is a new way to monitor energy consumption in the home that British Gas is now offering their customers called Smart Meters. In case you have never heard of a Smart Meter, they are meters that are inside the home that actually show you your energy consumption in real time. They also show you how much you are spending for your energy. I think the concept of these meters are fabulous. No more guessing about what your bill will be; how awesome is that? Also, you can show your children by looking at the Smart Meter how much energy you are using when certain appliances. I love the idea of having a visual aid to teach a child about the importance of energy conservation, not only for the good of the Earth, but for the good of my pocketbook.
I think my kids would find a Smart Meter as a learning tool fascinating. LaLa especially would love it because she is very into science and how things work. I could see her doing experiments to see what the energy consumption levels would be with certain appliances turned off and on. I would love it because my constant complaints about how much energy they are wasting would be then visually enforced. That is being a Smart Mum.