As parents, our goal is to raise kind, smart, caring and responsible humans. It’s a big task that can be overwhelming at times, but there are simple ways to teach your child important life lessons and skills, you’re probably already doing most of them and don’t even know it.
Children learn from doing and seeing. It’s amazing to watch them soak everything in and to see them eagerly try to copy or help you with any and every task. There are many household jobs that will help your little ones learn about responsibility, so be sure to involve them, we guarantee you’ll end up having more fun doing it together! From our experience, kids love to get dirty, they’re always attracted to puddles, mud and dirt, so why not get them their very own set of kid-size gardening tools and have them help you in the garden. Gardening is a positive activity any way you look at it; you get your dose of daily vitamin D, some fresh air, exercise and of course at the end of the day you’ll have a beautiful garden to admire.
Whether you’re an avid gardener with a property full of flourishing flowers and produce, have a couple of small gardens with low maintenance perennials or a balcony with a few planters and pots, spending time outside with your kids is a great way for all of you to connect with Mother Nature. We hear people say that they aren’t good at gardening or caring for houseplants, but we believe that anybody and everybody can become a gardener! Just like anything in life, it’s all about taking the time and making the effort. Yes, there will be times, probably many times, that you fail but there are lessons to be learned, and persistence is one of them. Persistence is a priceless personality trait, it means you don’t give up, you work hard and you’re determined no matter what. We think persistence is such an important quality to model and teach our little ones. If we take the time to research, learn and try, the possibilities are endless. Not only does caring for a garden show your children that hard work results in pretty flowers and plants to see and smell, but it can also provide us with food too. Being able to eat produce grown right in your very own backyard is something to be proud of, and shows your children that hard work pays off in so many ways. There are many lessons to be learned from the garden and spending quality time doing something fruitful with your child will not only teach them skills they can use every day, but you’ll also be creating special memories that they’ll likely remember forever.
If your children have been asking for a family pet but you aren’t quite sure if they’re ready to help with the caring of one, why not start with a houseplant. I know it may sound silly but getting a houseplant that your children can care for themselves will teach them many skills and prepare them to care for something like a new puppy or kitten.
Showing your child how to care for a houseplant is the perfect way to introduce them to:
Taking on responsibility: Take your child to the garden centre and help them pick out their very own plant (we recommend you guide them towards one that will thrive on low light and the occasional missed watering, the ZZ plant or snake plant are great options). Get them to decorate a pot and have them help you transfer their new plant to it’s new home, be sure to explain what you’re doing and why (adding stones to the bottom for proper drainage, how the roots work and why the plant needs sunlight). Teaching your little ones all about this living thing and what it will require to stay alive is the perfect way to make them aware of other living creatures.
Schedules: Since plants usually need to be watered on a weekly basis. Create a calendar to remind them to water or check on their plant. This teaches our little friends that living things need to be cared for on a regular basis.
How plants help us: Getting a plant not only adds life to a space but if you choose one of the many air purifying plants, it also cleanses the air which is an added bonus. We need to teach our kids all the wonderful things that plants do for us in and out of the home; from absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, to providing food for all creatures great and small.
Nurturing and Gentleness: A houseplant is the ideal starting “pet” for younger children as they don’t require daily care and only require water and a sunny location. Teaching your child to mist the leaves of a fern or gently groom a plant by removing dead leaves, is a great way to show them how to nurture and care for their new plant.
Gardening and caring for plants is beneficial in so many ways, so start implementing some watering and weeding into your weekly activities with your littles.
Being surrounded by nature really makes us aware of how we impact this world that we live in and how nature offers us so much. That’s why we have to treat it and all living creatures with kindness and respect. Gardening is a great way to introduce this way of thinking with our little ones, and it can show them that with a little love and attention, beautiful things are possible!