Being a product of hilly surroundings and naturalist family, I never thought outdoor activities can be a choice.
These activities made part of our everyday life. More than half of our free time used to be spent playing in the field, collecting corns, growing imaginary plants, converting those plants to medicines (yeah I know that’s not included in the curriculum of gardening), and painting with bushes as brushes.
We were so tactful that we could pick (half-ripe) corns and roast them on the exterior stove we built with our (tiny) hands.
But we didn’t become gardening enthusiast the day we were born. And, unlike what I can preach now, it wasn’t our parents who made us nature-lovers.
In fact, our family set up was designed to encourage outdoor activities especially time spent with nature. Elder cousins were engaged in these activities by their parents. And these cousins then taught younger ones and cycle continued.
Modern family structure, however, does not allow such adventures especially with the growing notion of helicopter parenting and parenting surveillance. But we can still instill the interest in your children using tactics somewhat similar to those used by parents of previous generations.
Make room for dirt. Ditch the prevalent notion of fearing germs.
I know that certain germs can kill. But please note that the emphasis on certain. Not all germs are bad. Some bacteria are good for the human body. In fact, the human body hosts around 100 trillion good bacteria.
Oftentimes, when we prevent ourselves, and our children, from harmful germs by limiting contact, we are also limiting our access to healthy germs.
So, change the mindset of avoiding germs at all costs. Be ready to get your hands dirty if the area is hygienic and well-kept. I would say include farmhouse visits in your weekly, or at least bi-weekly, schedule to gain access to a healthy natural environment.
You can dress up your little gardener in comfortable cotton tees, jammies that make their “tree-planting hrs” a fun sojourn. Cotton is forgiving and washing machine friendly which leaves no traces of stains post wash. And if you are ready to take this “project green” a step ahead, then match the outfits with nature prints. Rose/flower print tees, skirts ,flora and fauna print tops and shortsare fun options to let the kiddos experience the joy of bonding with nature.
And why leave the shoes alone? For little dudes, think ever comfy canvasor stylish camouflage print shoes. And for mommy’s gardening angel, let her flower print dress get a matching companion with flower all over shoes. Pretty amazing choice, right?
Make Gardening a Part of Your Lifestyle
The first step to incorporate gardening in your daily life is by making your home plant-friendly. A reasonably constructed home or apartment should allow enough sunlight and ventilation to foster plants, both indoor and outdoor.
Include this hobby in your schedule.Remember modeling is one of the best educational tools for disciplining children of any age.
When it comes to modeling, you shouldn’t limit this educational tool to your behavior and approach to the particular practice. Use examples of other people and characters.
You can incorporate gardening books in your quest to raise more nature-friendly kids. A few books which will help your child grasp the concept include The Curious Garden, Gardening Lab for Kids, and Planting a Rainbow. Use this resource to extend your library.
Talk about gardening and how it will help them. Focus on short-term consequences with little hints of long-term benefits.
Talk about Mother Earth and show needs our help in sustaining and reviving it.
There is little chance they will maintain gardening as a key part of their schedules if they are failing to connect with this practice emotionally.
Help them own this fun activity. You can start by allowing them to participate in your gardening schedule. (Ahem! Please ignore the mess!)
Include colorful plants and flowers in your quest and use their aesthetic sense to appreciate the beauty (impending).
Involve them in secondary activities, such as making or decorating flowering pots, use colorful charts and journals to preserve their daily or weekly progress, use competitions to measure progress, and don’t forget to get them their personal gardening tools.
Gardening can be an educational tool to raise leaders. As you sow a seed, you can only imagine its impact on the world. You have to tell yourself that the plant does exist even if it is not apparent right now.
When you plant a tree, you envision a future. And you know that you can help the universe manifest it.
So, help your kids develop their imaginations about their plants so they know their thoughts and actions have impacts even if they do not become visible right away.
In our modern day lifestyle, gardening can claim only a few moments from our daily schedules. It is easy for our children, and us, to lose interest in this heavenly passion because we have so many things to consider.
But including gardening themed conversations, decorations, and activities in our daily life will reduce the impact distractions can have on our children’s love for nature.
Stories and other books make just one tool to consider. Journals are other. Matching meals with the produce you obtain from plants will also help a lot.
Think of assigning each of your kids with designated patches of land or flowering pots. And ask them to show the best produce. This way competition will keep them hooked.
Kids and nature is a bond that gets only firmer and stronger with love and exposure. When kids take up the gardening duties like watering, collecting the greens or even feeding the plants vitamin supplements(of course, under your surveillance) make sure you reward the kiddos.
It will help boost their confidence and make them believe that, they can take care of little living beings. Try it out, the joy which appears on their faces, when they see a new bud or leaf is click-perfect.
The reward could be a fun garden friendly hat or cute headband that will make the kiddos look like, they take the gardening duty quite seriously.
In the modern world, we cannot practice the same level of nature's love as we could in past generations. Our homes are built in an environment which relies on ready-made products.
But this does not mean we should abandon our love for Mother Earth. There are a few ways we can revive our, our children’s, connection with the soil.
So, are you with me in guiding your children to build this connection?
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