Sadly our planet faces many challanges not least maintaining an adequate water supply. We all need to plan ahead but adjust our behaviour now.
Withougt frightening children introducing good and sensible water management in childhood is a great place to start.
Teach them that water is precious and should never be taken for granted.
In order to teach children how to conserve water, it is important to make sure that first they understand water. This means teaching them that water is a vital life giving resource, is not limitless, is not free and on the whole is a precious commodity.
The lack of water around the world:
Depending upon the age of the child, or children, teach them how scarce water is in some countries. Research on-line for examples of countries that have a poor water supply. This should include those that have poor quality water. There are many children and adults around the world that have to walk miles each day just to reach some water, however poor the quality. Teaching a child not to take the fact that currently his or her water supply is on tap for granted is a good first step.
It may also be useful to explain to children the cost of water. In some countries the water supply may be metered, whilst in others, such as the UK, a water rate may be payable. Children need to know that water is not a plentiful and free resource. The water they use in their homes is good quality and this purification costs money.
Uses of water:
Now that the child knows the true cost, value and possible scarcity of water it would be a good time to begin thinking about the uses of water. Get the child or children to make a list of the uses of water. Remember to include, paddling and swimming pools, drinking water, showers and baths, laundry, water pistols and playing, cleaning and so much more.
Try to use examples that are pertinent to those involved. For example, talk about if their bed linen could not be washed. What would happen if there was no water to wash the dishes, bathe, clean their teeth, wash their hair, go for a swim and so on. Using pertinent examples will help the child understand the importance of water.
Explain that sometimes there can be a drought:
Using examples of periods of local drought show the child why it is so important to conserve water. Explain how difficult it is to predict when such a drought may happen again, and so this is why we must conserve water when it is not in short supply.
Ways for children to conserve water:
So it will now be time to consider ways that the children can conserve water. Ask them for suggestions. Get them thinking about the ways that they sometimes waste water. Perhaps currently they flush the toilet when it is unnecessary or leave the tap or faucet running whilst they clean their teeth. Making it personal will help the child realise how much water is wasted and how this amount can be reduced.
It may be a good idea to draw a chart and identify ways to save water.
Perhaps there could be a reward system put into place for new ideas to conserve water. Running a water conservation competition between a few children may kick start the process.
If you can teach your children to respect and value water you are halfway there. Once you have begun some good water conservation practices with children, such as never leaving the faucet or tap running, using washing-up water to water the garden, not using the toilet as a bin that is flushed after dropping litter down it and never over filling a kettle these good habits will remain into adult-hood.
Once a child fully understands water he, or she, should want to conserve whatever they can.
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