Every day, an American uses about 88 gallons of water in their home. Taking showers, cleaning dishes and laundry, and cooking all add up quickly. However, much of that water isn't even put to good use-- according to Chelsea Green Publishing, a leaking faucet alone wastes about 2,700 gallons of water each year.
Teaching children about careful water use can help them grow into lifelong conservationists. As an added bonus, helping kids use less water can lower your utility bills. Teach kids to protect both your budget and the planet with these five water-smart tips:
- Establish Good Bath Time Habits
Bathing is one of the biggest activities for water consumption. When bathing infants, fill the tub with only a few inches of water. According to Water: Use it Wisely, there's no need for several gallons to wash a little one, and deep water makes bathing babies more dangerous. As toddlers grow older, they'll notice you only put as much water as needed in the tub. When they are old enough, exchange children's baths for quick showers, and explain that a full tub wastes more water than a short rinse.
- Practice with Faucets
Teach kids to turn off faucets as soon as they are not using the water. For example, show kids that they shouldn't leave the water running while they are brushing their teeth, and instead only use it for rinsing. Also, remind kids to tighten the faucet handles until the water stops completely, and have them check for leaks before walking away from the sink or tub.
- Only Do Full Loads
Finally, encourage kids to check if clothes and dishes are actually dirty before putting them in the hamper or dishwasher. Explain that using big appliances uses a lot of water and that it is important to only clean items when they really need to be cleaned. Also, show children that you only wash clothes and dishes when there is enough for a full load so that less water is used over time. Teaching kids about water use in chores has the added benefit of teaching them to do the chores in the first place!