Why you should train your kids on correct water use?
From birth to adulthood, children love splashing around in water. Who doesn’t have embarrassing naked baby pictures treasured by mom for years of the kids in the bath or paddling pool?
Unfortunately this love of water is the cause of many bathroom and kitchen disasters so we must take as many preventive measures as we can to protect our little mermaids and mermen!
Safety is the number one issue when talking about kids and water. It is something most moms are aware of but a split second is all it takes for something terrible to happen.
It is possible for small children to drown in as little as 2 inches of water. This means areas such as the bath, sink or even the toilet are risky for kids who are too young to know better. Make sure you keep bathroom doors closed when not in use and that drains in sinks and baths are maintained well so that no water pools in them. Teach your kids that the bathroom is a no-go area when mommy or daddy is not there.
Adults know that water and electricity do not mix but children have no idea. It is hard to explain to them the concept of electrical shocks so is far better to keep all electrical items such as hair dryers or music systems out of the bathroom.
Make sure your plumbing is in tip top order, no leaks or pools of water that can meet electrical outlets or equipment. If you are not comfortable with checking these things yourself, contact the professionals for a home inspection.
Get your water heater checked both for function so it has no electrical problems but also to set it to a maximum of 120˚ F to prevent scalding if your kids turn on the taps themselves.
Hot water scalding is the major cause of burns to young children and all the naughty steps in the world won’t stop them reaching for that tap.
Wet floors are a slipping danger. Check your appliances, toilets, sinks etc. for water leaks and stop them before your kids (or, most likely, you) go flying. Try to make a game out of drying the bathroom and kitchen floors so your kids will enjoy mopping up any messes they make
Ultimately, never leave young children unattended in the bathroom, even for a few minutes. Their lack of water awareness is dangerous.
Plumbers will tell you that they have found amazing items stuck in toilet drains; toys, books, mobile phones and even the odd dead fish.
As soon as they are old enough, you need to teach your kids what they are allowed to flush down the toilet and that is, to put in simply, poop, pee and reasonable amounts of toilet paper.
Another thing to teach them is that the irresistible call of the toilet flush device will lead to high water bills, damage to the environment and the eventual need to replace the flusher. (Maybe that’s too advanced for little ones so a few words about sitting on the naughty step might work better!)
If they are not old enough to understand, don’t allow them access to the toilet until they grow a little and always keep the toilet lid closed. The alternative is learning how to unblock toilets.
The drains in your bath, sink and even on the floor are more places our children can wreak havoc. We play with our kids for hours with toys that involve fitting objects through holes and then are surprised when they do it on their own!
Small holes seem to demand that small items are shoved into them by small fingers. Explain the difference between toys and drains and that the two should never be confused.
Check your drains regularly before you have a major flood on your hands and make sure you regularly use a drain cleaner to keep them clear. (This will also help prevent baths and sinks from becoming a drowning risk.)
Apart from the joy of toilet flushing, small kids love the sound and sight of running water and are often tempted to turn on the taps and watch. Good clear drains can only do so much before the water overflows and the flood happens.
A “serious talking to” might help but also consider adding water control taps which stop after a short period of time if you are worried about water running through your floor to the room below.
Look at your washing machine and dishwasher through a child’s eyes. They are bright and shiny with lots of buttons and flashing lights. They are indeed home robots. Failure to restrict the access of young kids to your appliances will cause floods, electrical risks and most likely damage to the machines.
As your kids get older and your children start doing chores, you might want to teach them to load the machines properly and supervise them until you are sure they are safe to use them. Rewards for a job well done when they get it right are always popular.
Children are never too young to learn the importance of saving our planet. There are many wonderful books aimed at children and showing them the importance of saving water and electricity, planting trees etc. If you incorporate this story telling with showing them how to turn off taps, to fill the sink with only a few inches, etc, you will help save both water and the planet.
The call of water is almost irresistible for children, especially toddlers. The best way to avoid accidents and wastage is to create water fun places and water serious places. This means having a supervised play area such as the bath or a paddling pool; whilst the toilets, sinks and kitchen are serious water areas and not for play. Continuous repetition of water rules is essential to establish expectations.
Never break the rules yourself and your kids will also learn to follow them.
June is a stay-at-home mom who has an interest in soundproofing her house so that her family can have a peaceful day after work and school. Sometimes, it is to lower the volume when her teenage son has band practice in the garage. She blogs at A Quiet Refuge.