Are you thinking about exciting ways you can spend more time outdoors with your child?
Hopefully you know it’s about more than having lots of fun. Although you’ll be able to bond with your child no matter what you do, it’s also important that the activity you choose benefits their life in as many ways as possible.
That’s why tons of people turn to gardening. It takes a lot of responsibility to look after something as it slowly grows, and your child will have to develop patience because nothing sprouts up overnight. They will also get the chance to learn lots of things about saving the planet, but let’s take a step back and look at some things you’ll need to do.
Let your child design the garden
You’ll be the one who gets to decide on the size and location, but don’t forget how you would feel if you were a child. I’m sure you would be disheartened if you were given a small patch at the very bottom of the garden. Once you know where it’s going to be located let them plan where the plants will go, but teach them important things at the same time. For example, how much space the plants need and why it’s crucial you don’t ignore it.
Don’t let them ruin it accidentally
You have to remember a garden is a big undertaking for a child of any age. They might accidentally ruin one of their plants, especially when it has not yet grown to a decent size. That is why they’ll have to know about raised beds, which they’ll have fun setting up before the planting begins. I know raised beds offers a few benefits, but when children are involved it will teach them where they shouldn’t step if they don’t want a bunch of squashed veggies.
You can’t scare them away
This might depend on the age and enthusiasm of your child, but they will only want to do certain things. Doing the initial planting, keeping everything watered, and harvesting the crops when they’re ready are usually at the top of the list. Mulching, trying to get rid of pests, and pulling out all those weeds will be less enjoyable. You should still encourage them to do some of those jobs, but don’t scare them away by forcing them to do everything.
Let them cook the vegetables
They say letting children cook vegetables is the quickest way to introduce them into their diet. I’m sure you’ve seen a few greens left on your child’s plate in the past, but were they helping you cook the meals? This works even better when they’re cooking vegetables they’ve worked so hard on over the months. Not only will you need to teach them how to harvest the vegetables, but you’ll need to show them how they are used afterwards too.
Try to make it more fun
Do you think your child will care about the amount of vegetables you ultimately end up with? They’ll be disappointed if they don’t have lots, but they won’t be worried about every last piece of land being utilised effectively. Your child will be happier if they can make it more fun by throwing in a few decorations. If you let their imagination run wild they’ll come up with lots of ideas, so remember it doesn’t need to be all work and no play inside the vegetable patch.
Looking after the environment
Teaching your child to grow a garden is a good way to teach them how to look after the planet. After all, if we all grew our own it would make a huge difference. Another thing they’ll need to know about is how to use recycled or collected water on their plants as they grow. If they do end up growing lots of plants they’ll need to use a large amount of water to succeed, but it’s taking a step backwards if it all comes straight from the tap.
Don’t discourage yourself thinking it will be too hard. If you’re not an experienced gardener it’s still something you should consider doing with your child. We’ve already talked about some of the benefits they’ll get, but you’ll get some too. It’s actually a lot easier than you think as long as you follow some basic rules. You’ll be glad you went through the effort of teaching your child how to grow vegetables when you’re tucking into them at dinner.
Does your family have their own garden? Share with us in the comments.