When I was a child I would talk to my grandparents for hours and hear the stories of how they did things “back in their day” and as I think about that, it is amazing how much has changed in just a few decades and what impacts me the most is how much is forgotten.
I believe it’s important that future generations are instructed on how the skills of yesterday can benefit them today and the future generations as well. Many people are coming around to this type of thinking and they are learning the skills of the past and combining them with the technology and knowledge of today.
Many families are changing the way they are living to pursue a lifestyle of self sufficiency and sustainability and because of that many children are being introduced to gardening for the very first time. Many are wondering about how to get their children in a self sufficient, homesteading mindset. Well here are a few tips that just might help.
Let them have something to imitate.
Children love to be like their parents, so it makes sense that if you want to introduce your children to gardening you have to let them see you garden. When you are digging in the dirt give them something to dig with as well. When you are pulling weeds show them some weeds they also can pull. They will want to be like those they look up to.
Give them their own space.
My parents always had a garden and I worked in that garden from as far back as I can remember but it wasn’t until second grade when I grew a bean into a plant in a paper cup at school that I felt like I grew something. Here I am 35 years later and I still remember that feeling. Give children a place to grow something, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a special place in the corner of the garden or a paper cup in a window, they just want it to be their very own.
Help them plant something they like.
If you want a child to find purpose with their garden then have them plant something they will actually eat and enjoy when it’s time to harvest. Kids will be excited when they finally get to harvest what they planted and (with the help of mom and dad) prepare it with a meal. It will impact the way the feel about growing there own food for the rest of there life.
Help them plant something that grows quick.
Kids have a lot of wonderful traits, patience usually isn’t one of them. Knowing this is the case we may want to encourage them to not only plant something they like to eat but something that grows quickly. Carrots, radish, lettuce, bush beans, and peas are just a few of the faster growing vegetables that will land on a plate in front of them sooner than later.
Help them succeed.
There is always this temptation to let failure happen in order to teach some grand life lesson but this may not be the best time for that. Remind them to water their garden, let them know when they need to pull some weeds, allow your children a few years of successful gardening to help them stay excited about growing food. They will have many opportunities later to experience failure in the garden (as all gardeners know).
Expand their garden each year.
Make sure as your child grows that their gardening responsibility grows with them. Give them a little more area, a little more variety and a little more work. What they will discover is a little more pride in their achievements as they grow in their skill and knowledge of gardening ultimately cultivating a lifetime passion.
With a bit of time, effort, fun and love your children will be well on their way to a lifetime of gardening adventures and will have developed a self sufficient mindset that will benefit them in every area of life and they will one day be teaching their children and grandchildren how they use to do it “back in their day”. Happy Homesteading!