Reducing Water Bills While Raising Kids
by Tamara Wilhite
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Kids are mobile mess machines in their first years of life. Whether it is their first solid food going every where but their mouths or pre-school mud baths, kids equal cleanup. Cleanup requires water. As do all the other aspects of running a household with these extra little people. There is a wide array of small details that can save water that you and your kids can do without radically changing your life.
- For the first months of life, a child does not have to be bathed every day if their diaper area and face and hands are kept clean. Every other day is fine. Since bathing with soap dries out their skin, you'll find that bathing half as often can also reduce or eliminate the need for baby lotions and skin ointments. Bathe mobile infants and toddlers daily, but do not wash their hair unless necessary.
- When toilet training, do not allow your child to flush the toilet as entertainment. Don't allow them to flush it if they just sit on it. If they don't put anything new in, the water doesn't go out.
- Don't fill up the pool unless everyone agrees to use it and make sure they actually do. Use the same batch of water in the wading pool all weekend unless there is a big uh-oh mess (swarm of dead ants, someone has an accident, etc.).
- In the summer months, pull off comforters and bed spreads from all the beds. Your child can sleep on sheets and one blanket of their choice. There is less to wash if they have an accident. Furthermore, they are not sweating under extra layers that will need to be washed later.
- Teach them to turn off the water when brushing their teeth or brushing their hair.
- If they don't finish the water they were given to drink, have them pour it out on the edges of the sink to help rinse it.
- Consider paper plates for snacks and light meals, to reduce the need to wash dirty dishes. Don't use multiple dishes and bowls if all the food can be served on one dish.
- If kids play in the sprinkler heads turned into toys, don't water that part of the lawn the next day.
- Have the washing machine set to half a load and not to double rinse. If a child does have an accident, most of the time, a single rinse in the wash is sufficient.
- Have your children help with the laundry, both loading and unloading the washer and dryer. Make them see how many dirty clothes they go through. It can help children see how much of a mess they are making and help older kids not get filthy when they know the consequences: more laundry chores.
- Put a clock where your children can see it when they take a shower. If they know how long they are in, they are less likely to dawdle and use less water in the process.
- The answer to "I'm bored" should be "go sweep the porch and driveway." But make them do it with a broom, not a water hose.
- If your teenager desperately wants to wash their car, send them to the car wash. If they have to feed quarters to keep the water flowing, they will quickly learn how to do the job faster and less often.
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Water is a commodity we too often let flow through our hands, as we often do with money. Taking it for granted lets it take a greater chunk of our wallets.
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