Those days of facing crisis and nearing the end of our reserves on Earth have already started appearing. What we earlier thought would be a thing of the much distant fture has suddenly come up with its big scary face, right in front of us. From melting glaciers to fast rising temperatures to winters that are almost a thing of stories now, our home, the Earth, is facing a lot of crisis, and much of it due to us, who live here.
With so much happening and so many problems cropping up, it is no surprise that now is the time to take action. As parents, we have a lot of responsibility on us. Not only do we have to don the cape of the role model and practice what we want to preach, we also need to involve our kids in the task and make sure they understand the reason why they are doing what we ask them to.
One of the most common problems we are facing at this moment is shortage of water. With draught being declared in Maharashtra (India), we in Mumbai are still fortunate enough to get enough access to clean drinking water. But not everyone is so fortunate. In fact, if we do not start the conservation process right away (even though we are already late), it will be a surprise to have regular water anymore in the near future.
As adults, we do practice a lot of water conservation at home, but I know it is important to inculcate this as a habit in the little ones too. And that is where it helps the most. It's no rocket science trying to teach your kids regular habits that are necessary, and just a few easy steps and repeating them over and over again can go a long way.
So here's the things I try and do to make sure my two year old (as well as my eight year old) know the importance of water and learn how to save it for the future:
- Brushing Times Are Sensible Times: The first thing in the morning that the kids do is brush their teeth, and of course splashing and playing with water is out of the question. To make it easier, I make sure to hand them their toothbrush only after I have added the paste on it, so that the little ones do not have an excuse to play with water, and waste it in the process. Once done, I clean them up. The little one knows she has to clean her tongue and mouth and all the regular face washing ways, but she knows that each time the tap has to be closed and water should not come out.
- Small Tap Yes, Big Tap No: While the older one knows she has to keep the tap on slow, the younger one is too young to understand and remember it all the time. To make it simpler for her, I devised a simple phrase that she understands best. 'Small tap' means the tap is switched on slow and the water flow is less, while 'Big tap' means the tap is switched on fast and the water flow is fast. Each time she opens the tap herself, I remind her to do 'small tap' and she knows it means slow.
- Make Bucket Baths Fun: Of course kids love to play in the bath tub and because we have one at home, it's even easier to fill it up and waste loads of water. While the kids do get a chance to sometimes get in the tub, I have made sure that bucket baths are also as much fun as a dip in the tub. Bring out all those plastic squeaky toys that are perfect for bath time and let your kids enjoy. To ensure there is no wastage of water, I fill it up myself for them and let them use it as they wish, of course while making sure they get clean too.
- Carry Water Along: I always carry water with me wherever I go, and it has been a habit ingrained in me since I was a child. No wonder then that my kids have picked up the same habit. So wherever we go and even if we are headed out to a restaurant, the kids always carry drinking water from home. Not only does it save money (come on, it does), it also helps save that bottle of water for someone else who may really need it.
- Fill It Half Please: Each time we are eating out at at restaurant, there is a lot of refilling that the waiters do whenever the glasses are half-full. My two year old is too small to pick up a heavy glass full of water, so it is easier for her to have one that is only filled halfway. As a result, she is now comfortable with the concept of having half a glass of water or lesser and asking for more if she needs it. I do the same for my elder one and even for myself, so that there is no wastage of water if we do not really need it.
And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ