Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Works for me Wednesday...Teaching the kids to appreciate electricity

I don't remember the exact circumstances of when I first came up with this strategy. I have 6 kids. The oldest two are 19 & 21. The next two are almost 11 & almost 9. The youngest two are 3 1/2 & 23 months. We use a LOT of electricity in our house. Many people seem to think I have a lot of patience, however, I don't think this is necessarily true.

A while back, one of the middle kids had the light bulb burn out in their bedroom. This child was constantly being reminded to turn off the light & not leave the light on all night. Instead of immediately replacing the light bulb, I made the child wait two weeks for a new light bulb. The light in the hallway gave just enough light to get to bed at night, but not enough to play or read in the bedroom after dark. When the two week waiting period was over, the child was suitably impressed with how much we depend on electricity and did very well for a while about turning off the light when not in use.

After a few months we had a relapse, when I found the light on for the third morning in a row, I waited until the children had gone to school & loosened the light bulb so that it wouldn't work. That night the child came crying that the light was burnt out again. Hubby & I explained that is what happens when you leave the light on too much. Once again the child had to wait two weeks to have the light restored and this time the message seems to have gotten through.

Since then we have used this technique on several lights in our house with great success. When the hall light directly outside their bedroom burnt out, we made them wait a week for a new bulb, when they left the bathroom light on continually after being reminded over & over, they lost that bulb for 3 days & had to rely on the little night light. The bathroom was especially helpful in the learning process because they had to take their showers while it was still light out, cutting into their playtime.

This has not had any noticeable effect on our electric bill, but light bulbs do seem to be lasting longer. I'm sure some people will think I'm being cruel, but it Works for Me! To see more Works for Me Wednesday visit We Are THAT Family.


Kirsty said...

Great idea! Unfortunately we have those long life bulbs and they don't burn out even when they are abused. My kids need something like this though because they are always leaving EVERYTHING on. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's cruel at all! I think it's a great idea, and I'm adding it to my file of things to remember just in case. My oldest is only 4, and she seems determined to save the earth (something she actually learned on tv). She even turns off the water while brushing her teeth!
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