How can I encourage my kids to be more energy efficient?

With electricity prices soaring across many parts of the country, you'll need to make sure you have everyone on board when it comes to helping to lower costs.

After all, there's not much point in the older members of your family making all the effort if your kids aren't pulling their weight as well. Making sure your children understand why they should be more efficient around the home is important, as it'll not only help drive down your bills, but also set them up for good habits later in life.

Here are some ideas of ways to get your kids interested in saving energy - who knows, they might even find it fun!

Avoid standby mode

It's all too tempting to leave electrical appliances in standby mode, but getting your kids to switch them off completely can have real benefits.

The next time they've finished watching TV or playing on their games console, encourage them to make sure they turn the device off completely. You might want to introduce a points-based rewards system to make it more fun - add points when they remember and take them away when they don't!

Load it up

It can be all too tempting to switch on the washing machine, tumble dryer or even the dishwasher when it's not quite full, but this can lead to a considerable waste of energy.

Make sure everyone in the family knows not to switch these appliances on until they've reached capacity and you could find yourself saving electricity and water.

Take a shower

Baths may be relaxing, but they can be expensive if every member of your family enjoys a soak. You've not only got the expense of the water, but also the gas used to heat it to the right temperature.

Ensuring everyone uses the shower more often can have widespread benefits, but consider installing a timer to make sure nobody takes longer than necessary!

Come up with recipe ideas 

Cooking dinner for the family every night can soon take its toll on your household bills, so why not be a little more creative with your menu choices?

Get your kids involved in looking for one-pot recipes or those that don't require you to have several appliances on the go at once - they're sure to love the challenge!

Make the most of leftovers

How many times have you made a meal only to find there's plenty left? Using up your leftovers can not only save you some hard graft in the kitchen, but also bring down your gas and electricity bills.

If you're short of ideas as to what to do with your spare food then head online. There is plenty of recipe inspiration to be found and you can share your ideas with other eco-savvy households. Don't forget to involve your kids as well!

Choose your entertainment wisely

When was the last time you sat down as a family and enjoyed playing a board game or some other activity that doesn't involve electricity? Sitting in front of the TV or a computer has become the norm in many households, but this simple activity could be taking its toll on your utility bills.

Arrange a weekly games night and you'll be able to cut down on your electricity usage while enjoying some quality time together as a family.

Be fridge savvy 

If your family often spends ages staring at an open fridge wondering what they want to eat or drink, try to cut down on this habit. It not only causes the cool air to escape the appliance, but it also forces your fridge to work overtime to bring itself back down to the right temperature.

You might want to think about putting a list of what's in the fridge on the door if this is a real problem in your household. This means your kids can open the door, pick what they want and close it again in double-quick time.

Use natural light

For youngsters who like to coup themselves up in their bedrooms with their various gadgets and gizmos, opening the curtains might not be too high on the agenda.

Making sure they let the sunshine in is not only good for them, but will also cut down on the amount of electricity needed in your home. Opening the window is a good idea, too, as this will help keep the room properly ventilated.

Do your research when buying appliances

When your household appliances need replacing, there's no substitute for doing your research before making a purchase.

This is something you can get the whole family involved with. Give each of them a make and model to look at and discuss the plus and minus points of each one - it saves you some of the legwork, too!

Posted by Richard West